from the build-a-hard-drive-cannon dept.
Makoto916 writes "In five years with my current employer as the IT administrator, I've amassed a sizable cabinet of discarded hard drives; just shy of 100, in fact. All of the drives range in size from 20GB up to 300GB. They've all been stored in anti-stat bags, and spot checks of even the oldest ones show that most of them still work. Individually, they're mostly useless for our line of work, which is digital video production. However, the collective storage potential is quite significant. They are of varying size and speed, but the one commonality is they're all IDE. What is the best way to approach connecting all of these devices and realizing their storage potential? On a budget, of course. Now, I'd never use such an array for critical data storage, but it certainly would be useful as a massive backup array to our existing SAN that does store critical data. I have several spare and functioning PCs, but not nearly enough to utilize their internal IDE controllers; even with multiple add-in controllers, it still wouldn't be enough. Not to mention the nightmare of managing a bunch of independent PCs. I've looked into ATA Over Ethernet and there's a lot of potential there, but current 15 to 20 bay AoE cabinets are expensive, and single device enclosures are so rare that they're also expensive. Are there any hardware hackers out there who have crafted their own home-brew AoE systems? Could they scale to 100 drives? Is there a better way?"
"What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is
the exact opposite."
-- Bertrand Russell, _Sceptical_Essays_, 1928