How to Recycle Old Computer Hard Drives

With the rapidly increasing volume of data we handle these days, the need for hard drives (and SSDs) as storage mediums are also increasing each day.

Not only you'll need more hard drives to store more data, but over time, you may need to upgrade your existing hard drives with larger ones, or some of them may go bad, so you'll need to replace them.

The thing is, what can you do about these older, unused drives you've "retired?"

Recycling your old drives is definitely an option. But how can you ensure the safety of your data previously stored within the hard drive? 

Is there any way to make some money from your older drives without compromising data security? Is selling/recycling your old drives as a company even legal?

In this guide, we will discuss all you need to know about how to safely recycle your old computer hard drives, as well as some other options you can try to get the most value out of your hard drives.

By the end of this guide, you'd have learned about:

  • When should you replace your old drives?
  • What to do with your old unused drives: recycling, repurposing, or selling
  • Is it safe to recycle or sell your old drives?
  • When to sell your used hard drives to maximize their value?
  • Actionable tips on how to safely recycle or sell your drives
  • Tips for ensuring you'll get the best value from selling your old drives 

Also, in this guide, we will cover traditional HDDs (with motorized disk platters) and solid-state drives (SSDs.)

Let us begin right away. 

When Should You Replace Old Hard Drives?

For HDDs

The average lifespan of HDDs with motorized disks is around three to five years. However, the actual lifespan may vary depending on many different factors such as brand, type, the environment in which the drive is used, size, and others.

Above all, the frequency and volume of data you read/write on the HDD will be the most important factor. The more often you use the drive, naturally, the sooner it will fail. Hygiene of the environment can also play an important factor, as dust build ups can cause electrical issues.

You may decide to replace the HDD at any time, for example, when you'd like to upgrade it with a larger drive. However, ideally you'd want to replace HDDs before they show signs of failure to avoid system downtime and loss of data due to corruption or other issues.

Some important symptoms of HDD malfunctions are:

  • Grinding or clicking sounds when the drive is in use
  • Your system is frequently overheating and freezing (showing the blue screen of death on Windows or the equivalent on other OSs)
  • System warning about bad sectors or corrupted data on the drive
  • Disappearing files
  • Frequent system/application crashes may be signs of hard drive corruption.

Also, if your system lags or freezes frequently, this can be a sign of the drive being out of disk space, and you may need to replace the drive with a larger one or add another drive while freeing up space.

For SSDs

Solid-State Drives, as the name suggests, utilize solid-state, non-motorized components to read and write data. The lack of mechanical movements will translate into fewer chances of failure, allowing the SSDs to be much more stable and faster than traditional motorized HDDs while consuming less power. k

With that being said, SSDs have a higher average life span of 7-10 years.

However, this is not saying SSDs are 100% perfect. While the solid-state storage component of SSDs isn't susceptible to mechanical failure, other components are vulnerable to failure.

SSDs still require power supplies and capacitors to operate, and they are susceptible to failure, for example, when there are power surges. Also, SSDs corrupting stored data even when the drive itself hasn't failed is a known issue.

Similar to HDDs, however, the more data you read/write to the SSDs, the faster it will fail. SSDs, as a type of flash memory, have limited read/write cycles.

Even with all these potential issues, SSDs should last more than five years on average, but you'll still want to know when your SSD is nearing failure so you can ensure your data's safety.

Unlike motorized HDDs, however, SSDs won't make any sound or physical signs to indicate that it is failing. So, you may need to use software solutions like  CrystalDiskInfo (Windows); macOS users can take a look at Smart Reporter Lite (macOS) or Hard Disk Sentinel  (Linux, Windows) to check the condition of your SSD.

When should you sell your hard drive?

To maximize the value of your old computer hard drives, timing is key.

It's quite obvious that the longer you wait to sell the hard drive, the lower the hard drive's resale value will be. Also, the condition of the hard drive, both in terms of physical defects (if any) and performance, would matter a lot. 

However, selling your hard drive too soon is not always a good idea. If you are planning to replace the hard drive with a new one (i.e., with new technology), then the price of the replacement drive may still be too high, so you may lower the potential ROI of your investments. 

So, when should you sell the hard drive? In general, you'd have to find the sweet spot between when the old hard drive's resale value is still relatively high while the price for the replacement drive has been lowered.

In general, selling when your hard drive is 2-3 years old is a good sweet spot.

What Should You Do With Old Hard Drives: Recycle, Sell, or Repurpose

Before you decide to recycle old computer hard drives, keep in mind that it's not the only option you have. If your drive still has some value, then it's best to sell the hard drive, which may also help you in financing the hard drive replacement. 

Each HDD or SSD is unique, so to consider your options, you have to consider several different factors:

  • The age and condition of the hard drive. Can the drive still function properly? Are there any signs of failures or malfunctions?
  • If you are planning to replace the drive, what's the price of the new HDD or SSD? 
  • Whether the drive contains sensitive or regulated data.

While considering these factors, here are the available options: 

  • Selling: if the resale value of the old computer drive is still fairly high and the drive doesn't contain sensitive/regulated data (or you are confident about secure data wiping, for example, by selling your hard drive to a reputable IT asset disposition company,) then you should definitely sell the drive and make some money out of it. 
  • Repurposing: if your old hard drive is still in a pretty good condition, but you are not willing to sell it for one reason or another (i.e., the resale price is not worth the hassle), then you can repurpose the hard drive, for example by using the drive on another computer or reuse it as an external hard drive. 
  • Recycle: if selling is not an option and you can't repurpose the hard drive, then the last resort option is to recycle the drive. If the hard drive contains sensitive/regulated data and you are not confident about securing it, then recycling the drive to ensure total destruction is the most secure option.

Methods of Recycling Old Computer Hard Drives

If, after considering all the factors above, you still decide to recycle your hard drive, you have several different methods to consider:

DIY methods

While you probably don't have the tools and means to recycle the old drives yourself, you can either securely wipe your data on the drive before throwing it away or physically destroy the hard drive yourself (with the hope that the remains will be recycled.)

The goal here is to ensure it's impossible for anyone to access sensitive information stored within the hard drive after you've disposed of it, and you can follow the instructions below.

Securely Wiping Your Hard Drive

Before you discard your HDD or SSD for recycling, you should make sure you've removed any personal and sensitive data from the drive. 

There are many different methods and software tools you can use to perform a secure wipe, but here are the methods we'd recommend:

  • For HDDs

If you have a Windows computer, then we'd recommend using the free DBAN utility tool to easily and securely wipe your HDD. DBAN is pretty easy to use and is also very reliable in performing secure wiping to ensure the erased data is 100% unrecoverable.

DBAN, however, is not available on macOS devices, so if you only have Mac devices, you can't use DBAN for wiping your HDDs. Instead, you can simply use your Mac's built-in Disk Utility tool, which is also pretty reliable. 

Go to the Utilities folder (Apple+Shift+U), run Disk Utility, and format (not Quick Format) the HDD three times. 

  • For SSDs

Fortunately, most major SSD manufacturers (i.e., Western Digital, Seagate, SanDisk, Samsung, etc.) provide their own disk management solution that can help in securely wiping the SSD.

So, if you haven't already, first identify the SSD's manufacturer, then go to the manufacturer's website to download the disk management software.

However, if you can't find the disk management software for one reason or another, you can try to use Gparted (free).

Physically Destroy the Hard Drive

If you are not confident about securely wiping your drive and there's no chance you'll be using this drive in the future; a very secure option is to completely destroy the hard drive.

There are several methods you can try:

  • Manually destroy disk platters: open the HDD's case until the motorized disk platter is exposed. Then you can grind or sand the disk platter to completely destroy the stored data. 
  • Hammering old hard drives: pretty self-explanatory; the simplest method that will require some effort is to use a hammer to smash and destroy the HDD. However, if you are using this method, make sure to completely smash the drive, so the data is not recoverable.
  • Drilling/driving nails: you can drill or hammer nails directly into multiple areas of the disk platter. If you drive enough nails, they should be enough to ensure the data stored is 100% inaccessible.
  • Incineration: burning your HDD or SSD is obviously easy and is a very reliable method if you'd want to completely destroy a hard drive. However, keep in mind that it's not the most environmentally-friendly option, and incinerating your drive will release chemical substances into the air. Check first whether this practice is prohibited in your area before you proceed.
  • Degaussing: degaussing is the practice of driving the hard drive through a very strong magnetic field, completely rendering the disk unusable.

Recycling Your Personal Computers

If you are only looking to recycle your own personal hard drive along with your computer, then you can:

  1. For Windows PCs: you can contact a Windows-certified refurbisher that provides secure data wiping service for a small fee. You can try to find the nearest Microsoft Authorized Refurbishers (MARs) from this list. These refurbishers may offer to buy your old drive after performing secure data wiping and provide you with a Certificate of Data Destruction, or some may also send the drive back to you after it's securely wiped. 
  2. For Macs: if you have a Mac device, then you can simply send the device (or the hard drive) to the nearest Apple recycling center. The Apple recycling center will perform secure wiping on your hard drive.

Sending Your Old Computer Hard Drives to Their Manufacturers

Depending on the HDD's or SSD's manufacturer, you may be able to send the old hard drive directly to its manufacturer for recycling. Some of them may also accept your whole computer (especially if it's a laptop or OEM PC from their brand.)

So, contact your hard drive's (or computer's) manufacturer and ask whether they'd accept your hardware for recycling. If you'd like to reuse the drive and only want to securely wipe the data, some manufacturers are offering this service for a small fee. 

If you need to send the hard drive, then ask whether the manufacturer offers free shipping. If that's the case, request a pre-paid shipping label from them so you can print out the label yourself.

Once you've arranged the recycling with the manufacturer, package the hard drive and bring it to your trustworthy mail carrier. Keep in mind that if the manufacturer's office is pretty close by, you can simply deliver the hard drive/device to the office on your own.

When sending your hard drive:

  • Make sure the drive is properly packaged (i.e., with adequate bubble wrap) to protect the drive during transportation.
  • If you've received a shipping label from your drive's manufacturer, simply attach the label to your box. Make sure to visit the mail carrier that matched the shipping label.
  • If you didn't receive the shipping label in one way or another, then you'll need to pay for shipping yourself. 

Selling or Recycling to IT Asset Disposition Company

Another viable option to securely recycle your hard drive is to sell your old hard drives, computers, or other IT assets to an IT asset disposition (ITAD) company.

An ITAD company specializes in buying, selling, and recycling used IT equipment, including hard drives. So, by selling your old computer hard drives to them, they'll handle all the work of securely wiping your data and performing responsible recycling to ensure both the IT asset recovery company and your company stay compliant with relevant regulations.

One key advantage in selling your old hard drives to these ITAD companies is environmentally-friendly and secure data wiping. R2 recycling companies like Big Data Supply Inc. will not only ensure secure data wiping but also ensure all processes taken to recycling or refurbishing your hard drive are responsible and environmentally friendly. 

As a compliant ITAD company, Big Data Supply Inc. would also provide Certificates of Data Destruction after your hard drive has been securely shredded or destroyed. In the event when you are needed to prove your company's responsibility to consumers' sensitive and/or regulated data, these certificates are legally recognized.

To sell your hard drive to an ITAD company, you can follow these steps:

Step 1: listing the details of your old hard drive

It's crucial to gather as much information as you can about your old hard drive so the ITAD company can give an accurate estimation of its worth.

At the very least, identify and list the following details: 

  • Type (HDD, SSD, other)
  • Brand
  • Model
  • Quantity (if you are selling more than one hard drive)
  • Serial number
  • Connector/interface type
  • Capacity/storage size
  • Condition 

If you are only selling one hard drive, then this step shouldn't be a major issue. However, if you are selling multiple drives in bulk, consider creating a dedicated spreadsheet to keep everything in check.

Step 2: take clear and honest photos

In this step, take clear photos of the hard drive, including a clear picture of its serial number. 

The goal here is not to take beautiful, enhanced pictures of your old drives but to provide an accurate representation of the drive's condition. 

So, the photos don't need to be professionally taken, but rather, it's important to be honest. If there are any physical defects, make sure to take pictures of these defects and mention them when offering the hard drive.

Step 3: Finding the right ITAD company

Make sure to find an ITAD company that is both R2 and RIOS certified.

R2 certification is awarded only to companies that have achieved responsible recycling standards that also have followed appropriate data security best practices. 

On the other hand, RIOS certification is an ANSI accredited standard that acknowledges the service provider's compliance with ISO:9001 (service quality), ISO:14001 (eco-friendly), and OHSAS:18001 (health and safety).

Big data Supply Inc. is both R2 and RIOS certified, ensuring your data is securely wiped before the recycling process while also ensuring responsible and environmentally-friendly recycling.

Once you've sent the details of your old hard drive and other IT equipment you'd like to sell, the ITAD company will send an offer for your drives, and you can either choose to accept or refuse that price. 

Step 4: Packaging and shipping

The ITAD company may offer to pick up your old hard drive on your place or even perform secure data wiping on your premises, but you may be required to package and ship the hard drives yourself. 

When that's the case, make sure to package the hard drive securely and carefully so you don't damage the hard drive. The last thing you'd want is to accidentally damage the hard drive before it's sold. 

If necessary, purchase insurance on your package to ensure its safety. Even if the hard drive has been packaged and shipped securely, accidents can happen, and the hard drive may be lost or damaged when transported. Without insurance, you'll need to absorb the cost.

If you are selling multiple drives in bulk, then don't forget to label the items correctly. This will help the ITAD company when unpacking your hard drives so you can get paid faster and accurately.

Wrapping Up

Recycling your old computer hard drives is now pretty easy and safe, and while the main concern is about the security of your data, there are now many ways to ensure you can securely wipe your data and ensure it's 100% unrecoverable.

However, keep in mind that recycling the old hard drive is not your only option. If the drive is still functional and/or still has some resale value, it's probably better to either repurpose it or sell it to ensure you can maximize its value.

Buying and selling used IT equipment, including used hard drives, is Big Data Supply Inc.'s specialty, and we are ready to be your partner in maximizing the value of your used hard drives.

Don't hesitate to leave any comments and questions below, and if you'd like to inquire about a quote on selling your old hard drives, contact us at 1 (866) 411-4890 or fill out the online form here.

Data storage is a term that can refer to the computer data storage and any other data storage device that reads and stores data from any medium. This is a complex part of electronic devices, which comes with many components. When the device that includes data storage becomes obsolete users usually look for a way to get rid of it. One option is to store this element, but this method requires using space, which is not always a good idea. Another more practical way is to recycle data storage. There is more than one reason why you should choose this option. Today Big Data Supply, Inc. is going to let you know why you should choose to recycle your data storage.

Almost every individual and organization in the world now uses electronic devices and components. They are used for many reasons – communication, sharing or storing data, receiving information, and for many other purposes. They certainly come with many advantages, but they also come with few disadvantages too. One of the biggest downsides of electronics is the problem with their disposal once they become obsolete.

The waste that includes electronic parts like data storage is increasing every year and according to some experts this quantity will continue to grow in the next few years as well. There are many individuals and companies that still use closets, basements, garages, inappropriate dumps, and landfills in order to eliminate the waste. According to the previously mentioned statistics, this type of waste is growing 3 times faster than municipal waste and the solutions we’ve mentioned are not actually long-term solutions and some of them are illegal.

Disposing of data storage this way is very harmful to the earth. It creates large landfills that are polluting the air and the water. In todays society, the need for a more sustainable option to dispose of data storage is crucial to saving the earth and helping to make it a better place.

Data storage technology uses different types of materials and most of these materials can be recycled and reused.

These activities reduce the amount of dangerous materials that may affect the nature. The recycling programs offered by the companies that work in this industry prevent the expansion of landfills. If this type of waste is left in landfills the toxic materials can easily reach the soil, air and water. This is something that recycling prevents.

These companies also have programs that allow them to refurbish data storage and prepare it for reuse. They are able to extract the valuable elements including metals and these materials can be used in other products too. We are all aware that most of the resources used in electronic devices and equipment are made of resources that are not renewable. If we tend to reuse the same materials we are actually preserving the remaining resource in the soil and reduce the mining process, which is known for the negative impact on the environment. In addition, the processing of these materials leads to additional emission of gases and other types of impurities in the air. All these things can be avoided if businesses and individuals rely on recycling. It is a simple and easy process that only requires people to find quality hard drive shredding and destruction services.

Finally, by using recycling you are supporting the economy especially local economy. These companies need more manpower in order to process the products like data storage in the right way. So, by using these services you will not only protect the environment, but also support the economy.

Complete the form and get an offer for your used data storage equipment.  We'll recycle it and give you cash when you sell your hard drives to us.

Ultimate Guide: Data Center Decommissioning Plan

So, you've taken the decision to decommission your data center?

Sooner or later, a data center will need to be decommissioned (whether fully or partially) for one reason or another. For example: 

  • Upgrading IT assets and equipment in your data center for improved performance, security, and/or reliability
  • Relocating your data center 
  • Partially or fully transition into cloud storage

In such scenarios (and more), a proper decommissioning process is important mainly for two things: ensuring a smooth transition to the new system (and/or location) and protecting data privacy, integrity, and security.

Most, if not all, data centers involve the storage and transmission of sensitive and confidential data in their day-to-day operations. Without a proper decommissioning process, unsecured data may be intercepted and exploited by unwanted parties, exposing your organization to potential legal and financial implications. 

This is why having a data center decommissioning plan is crucial before performing any decommissioning process, and in this guide, we will learn how to develop one. 

By the end of this guide, you'd have learned about: 

  • Overview of data center decommissioning process
  • Why data center decommissioning is crucial
  • Best practices in developing a data center decommissioning plan
  • A step-by-step guide to developing a decommissioning plan

And more.

Without further ado, let us begin with the basics.

Data Center Decommissioning: Overview

Why do you need a data center decommissioning process and plan in the first place?

It's crucial to understand that a data center has a relatively short lifespan when compared to typical commercial buildings. A traditional commercial building has an average lifespan of up to 100 years, but for data centers, the average is 'only' around 15 to 20 years.

Why is that the case?

While the building itself and the physical infrastructure can last quite a long time (on average, up to 60 years), IT equipment and assets that power the data center have a much shorter lifespan. Software assets must be regularly updated every three to four years, and hardware assets will also need regular upgrades to maintain reliability.

Without these regular updates, the vulnerabilities within these IT assets may be exposed by cybercriminals, and older assets may simply stop working. 

In short, it can compromise the data center's overall performance and the security/integrity of data stored within and transported to/from the data center.

There are two main scenarios in which a data center decommissioning process is required: 

1. Replacing older IT equipment

Decommissioning older IT assets and replacing them with new assets can be easier said than done in practice. Even if it's something that's performed regularly in organizations, careful planning is still required.

An important issue when partially decommissioning and replacing assets in a running data center is to minimize downtime by taking dependencies between assets into account. 

2. Retiring the data center

A data center may need to be retired for one reason or another, for example, when a company decides to migrate its whole operations to a cloud-based environment, relocate the data center, or simply when an organization closes down its operation.

In practice, retiring a data center will require a careful decommissioning plan, which can be quite complex. Depending on the size of the data center, there may be a lot of IT assets that require decommissioning, turning the data center decommissioning process into a very complex project. 

Not to mention, there may also be local, state, and federal regulations that you'll need to comply with when performing the decommissioning process. In such cases, the assistance of certified professionals may be required to ensure compliance with relevant regulations. 

Why Would You Need a Data Center Decommissioning Plan?

You'll need a data center decommissioning plan to ensure the whole process can be executed smoothly, which is important due to four main reasons:

1. Data Security

A data center decommissioning plan should identify the correct steps to ensure the privacy, integrity, and security of data stored within the data center. 

Critical data should also be backed up to prevent loss of information, and depending on the applicable regulations, you may be required to keep a backup of data stored on physically destroyed/recycled equipment as proof of what information was stored on the IT equipment. 

2. Documentation

A proper data center decommissioning process should also involve ensuring a proper audit trail by maintaining a list of all decommissioned assets, data of decommissioning, what exact steps have been performed, and so on.

Depending on your industry and location, keeping a comprehensive audit trail may also be legally required. 

3. Access control management

In retiring old equipment or retiring the whole data center altogether, management of user authentication is a must. User IDs must be removed from the retired equipment or the whole system so they can no longer access the system/network.

When assets are replaced with new ones, this process should also ensure transferring of user IDs from the old IT assets to the newly installed ones.

7S of Data Center Decommissioning

While the actual decommissioning process will vary on a case-by-case basis, all decommissioning processes should consider these 7S factors: 

  1. Size: decommissioning a 1,000 sqft data center would require a different approach than decommissioning a 1 million sqft data center. The bigger the size, the more equipment, and IT assets you'll have, and the more you'll need to pay attention to security.
  2. Security: as in, data security, but also physical security of your data center. Ensuring the security and integrity of data should be the main focus of any data center decommissioning process,
  3. Sensitivity: how crucial is the data center to the organization's current day-to-day operations? Is the data stored within the data center has been 100% migrated to the cloud or new location, or are there data and assets to be decommissioned that are still mission-critical?
  4. Software: depending on the size of the data center to be decommissioned, as well as the sophistication of the decommissioning plan, you will most likely need the help of software solutions in the decommissioning process. You'll need a software solution to identify and track the assets to be decommissioned, and another for tracking progress (i.e., GANTT chart software.) Ideally, you'll want software solutions that are specifically designed for IT asset decommissioning. Your options can be limited, and these software solutions can be expensive, and this is where getting the help of a professional data center decommissioning company can help. 
  5. Saleability: to maximize ROI, it's crucial to accurately identify which IT assets in your data center are still valuable, and if so, what's the accurate valuation? Don't underestimate the value of your older IT assets, even if they are not in good condition at the moment. 
  6. Sophistication: refers to complete and accurate documentation of your data center decommissioning process from start to finish. Depending on your data center size, the purpose of decommissioning, and the IT assets to be decommissioned, you may have different criteria for what's perceived as sophisticated documentation. 
  7. Sequence: in what order should the steps of decommissioning be performed? In practice, we'll need to consider many different factors like dependencies between software and hardware assets, the overall complexity of the process, and more. 

Developing a Data Center Decommissioning Plan: Key Principles

A robust and comprehensive data center decommissioning plan is required to ensure a smooth decommissioning process for the reasons stated above. 

A data center decommissioning plan should cover at least the following areas: 

  1. The right course of action for each IT asset that is decommissioned, whether to sell, reuse, dispose of, or recycle the asset, among other options. 
  2. When replacing older IT assets with new ones:
    1. Planning how the older IT asset will be removed to give space to new assets. 
    2. Planning data backup and restoration from the old equipment to the new
    3. Planning transfer of user ID and authentication to new devices
  3. Ensure secure and eco-friendly IT disposition/recycling process
  4. Secure data wiping when disposing of/decommissioning storage devices or any IT assets that store data

Maximizing ROI of Decommissioned Assets

A key consideration when planning a data center decommissioning process is to maximize the ROI of each IT asset to be decommissioned by considering:

  • The average market value of the decommissioned IT asset.
  • The condition of the decommissioned IT asset (whether it's possible to repurpose or sell the asset.)
  • Whether the decommissioned IT asset contains sensitive or confidential data. Secure data wiping may require additional costs.
  • Cost of the new IT asset that will replace the decommissioned IT asset.

Based on these considerations, we have three main options:

  1. Repurpose: if the resale value of the asset is relatively low, but it is still in a usable condition, then we can repurpose the asset. (i.e., using older hard drives as external drives.)
  2. Sell: if the resale value is still relatively high, and if secure wiping of confidential data is possible and cost-effective, then selling the used data center equipment is the best option.
  3. Disposal: if we can't sell or repurpose the asset, or if it's not possible to securely wipe the confidential data stored within the decommissioned asset, then physical destruction and/or recycling may be the only viable option.

A proper and comprehensive data center decommissioning plan should discuss in detail the different courses of action that will be taken for each decommissioned IT asset. 

Remember that your data center is unique, so there's no one-size-fits-all approach you can use when developing your data center decommissioning plan. The plan should be custom-tailored to the unique needs of the data center in question, so we can ensure the smooth execution of the decommissioning project. 

Partnering with ITAD Vendor vs. Decommissioning In-House

Before anything else, there's one decision you should make: could you do the data decommissioning process on your own? Or will you need outside help? 

Even if you technically can do this in-house, will it be cost-effective? Will you be better off using your valuable time to perform your organization's critical tasks instead?

Especially if you are in a heavily regulated industry (i.e., healthcare), getting a professional vendor to help might be a good idea. You wouldn't want to retain 100% of the potential liability just to save some money. Instead, it's probably better to pass that potential liability to a professional ITAD company that is R2 and RIOS certified, as well as insured, so they can also cover your potential losses. 

Don't forget that you'll also want to protect the integrity of your data, as well as your equipment's potential value. 

It's best to look for an ITAD vendor who can provide references to decommissioning projects similar to yours. Ask for certifications and insurance documents when evaluating different vendors, and obviously, identify how much you are willing to spend for their help (your budget.)

Unless you already possess a considerable security infrastructure, it's probably better to partner up with a credible ITAD vendor. They will be the ones developing the data center decommissioning plan (together with you) and executing the project, and you can simply supervise and monitor.

Data Center Decommissioning Plan: Step-By-Step Checklist

Now that we've covered the high-level considerations of how we should plan a data center decommissioning process, in this section, we will move on to a step-by-step guide on the data center decommissioning process.

Even if you are working with an ITAD vendor in decommissioning your data center, you should work together with the vendor to put together a comprehensive project plan. While they may be the ones performing the heavy lifting, carefully evaluate their plan before giving your approval.

With that being said, let’s begin with the first step.

Step 1: Defining the scope of work

The first step in developing your plan is about outlining all the details of the decommissioning process, and we should begin by defining the scope of work: 

  • The total size of the data center 
  • The purpose(s) of the decommissioning project
    • KPIs to measure the success of the project
  • Timeline of the project (when the project must be done)
  • Estimating budget
  • Establish a decommissioning project team (disregard this if you are working with a vendor.)
    • Assign a project manager
    • List all the stakeholders that are going to be involved in the project

Step 2: Identifying assets

The next step is about identifying assets that will need to be decommissioned. Pay attention to dependencies when planning asset decommissioning: one of the assets you were thinking of retiring may actually run a critical application that is a dependency on another.

  • How many assets need to be removed?
  • Use network discovery tools to identify assets, and follow up with physical reviews. 
  • List of all hardware and software assets that need to be decommissioned
    • Servers
    • Racks
    • Hard drives
    • SSDs
    • Networking equipment
    • Software assets
    • …..
    • ….
    • Etc. (add as needed)
  • Compare the list of IT equipment to pre-existing Configuration Management Databases (CMDBs) 
  • Identify pieces of equipment that may require special considerations/technical expertise to move them
  • Develop a detailed IT asset map listing equipment and location of items to be decommissioned. Compare with your CMDBs as needed.
  • Contact a Data Center Decommission vendor to determine what you are going to do with each piece of equipment/asset: reuse, sell, destruction/recycle, etc.

Step 3: Developing a comprehensive plan

Based on the itemization you’ve done in the previous phase, in this phase, you can start planning the execution of the decommissioning project. 

  • Develop an execution plan
    • List of all the activities to be performed
    • PIC for each task
    • Roles and responsibilities of different stakeholders
  • Develop a schedule/timeline for the decommissioning project. 
    • Identify whether the decommissioning project will coincide with work hours (especially peak hours) and whether you’ll need to issue notifications about potential service downtime
  • Establish backup systems and workflows to make sure there is not going to be a critical loss of power or data
  • Identify and cancel vendor maintenance contracts for affected equipment
  • Prepare tracking numbers for assets that are going to be decommissioned
  • Prepare a list of contacts for potentially affected stakeholders and the preferred method of communication for each
  • Reconfirm the asset list. Recheck everything and identify all assets again as needed
  • Removal instructions for emergency generators and auxiliary equipment
  • Removal instructions for cooling systems, including cabling, piping, ductwork, and additional tools

Step 4: Preparing tools, supplies, and labor requirements

  • Prepare the tools and labor requirements at each step of the decommissioning project:
    • Device shredders 
    • Degaussers
    • Forklifts
    • Hoists
    • Pallet
    • Packing foam
    • Hand tools
    • Boxes
    • Crates
    • Labels
    • Packing materials (bubble wrap, tape, poly bags, etc. )
  • Identify Who will oversee and execute each task (if you are using external vendors, make sure to perform the necessary background/security check ahead of time)

Step 5: Secure data wiping and/or physical destruction of assets

  • Gather relevant stakeholders ahead of the actual decommissioning process, discuss the details and gather input
  • Identify the types of data your organization routinely transports and/or generates, decide how you should deal with each category of data
  • Establish clear data eradication protocols. Define whether there are any critical steps that will require human supervision and authorization before proceeding
  • Decide on appropriate data eradication method for each storage device and/or each type of data: physically destroying the drive (shredding/incineration), degaussing, using software tools to securely wipe data, etc. 
  • Be clear and comprehensive in your organization’s expectations around the process of secure data eradication and/or physical destruction
  • Identify which devices will be transported offsite for eradication/destruction, and which will be sanitized on-site
  • During the actual decommission, safely disconnect the equipment from the network and tag assets for decommissioning.

Step 6: Packing and transportation

  • Use appropriate asset management software to track all assets
  • (For assets that will be recycled) Label each piece of decommissioned assets to indicate where it is going and the owner of the device 
    • Attach printouts to the equipment with instructions for where the equipment would be moved for each asset
  • Prepare a dedicated space for packing assets depending on the number of decommissioned equipment and/or required size. 
  • Use the appropriate packing materials for each asset, as you’ve planned in the previous steps
  • For on-site decommissioning, make sure to follow the steps laid out in the project plan for clearing the teardown space

Step 7: Evaluation

  • Re-check with the IT and accounting teams whether decommissioned assets have been recorded properly
  • Coordinate with your chosen IT Asset Decommissioning (ITAD) vendor to confirm the secure eradication of data.
    • Get Certification of Destruction (CoD) for relevant assets/data
  • Calculate the total value recovered and returned to your IT budget (with sales of used equipment, etc. ). Appropriate ITAD providers will assist you with each stage of the decommissioning process to ensure you are maximizing your return from unused assets
  • Review all relevant documentation before and after the process to ensure compliance 

Closing Thoughts

To summarize, your data center decommissioning plan should consider seven different steps: 

  1. Defining the scope of work
  2. Identifying assets to be decommissioned
  3. Developing a comprehensive plan
  4. Preparing tools, supplies, and labor requirements
  5. Secure data wiping and destruction of assets
  6. Packing and transportation
  7. Evaluation

Besides careful planning of the data center decommissioning project, it’s also crucial to

choose the right partner that can help you in securely executing the decommissioning project. 

Look for an IT asset disposition specialist that offers holistic data center decommissioning service as your partner. Big Data Supply Inc. is an R2 (Responsible Recycler) certified IT asset recycling company that can be your partner in ensuring an environmentally friendly and data security-compliant decommissioning process for your data center. 

Selling Used Hard Drives: Ultimate Guide in 2022

With data increasingly becoming the most valuable commodity in the world and the advancements in various forms of technology, the amount of data created and stored globally is also increasing rapidly by over 5000% between 2010 and 2020.

Global data creation is projected to reach more than 180 zettabytes by 2025, meaning we'll need more and bigger hard drives.

However, as we know, hard drives have a relatively short life span of just three to five years. SSDs can last longer than standard HDDs, but their life cycles are still somewhat limited.

At some point, you'll need to retire old hard drives and replace them with new ones, and the best way to maximize their value is to sell your hard drives for extra cash (and hopefully, help finance the upgrade).

Yet, is it safe to sell your old hard drives? Can the buyer recover your wiped data and use it for malicious purposes? 

In this guide, we will answer those questions (and more) and discuss all you need to know about how to securely sell your hard drives while maximizing their value. 

By the end of this guide, you'd have learned about: 

  • Selling VS repurposing VS recycling hard drives.
  • Is it safe to sell your hard drives? 
  • Why sell your old hard drives?
  • When to sell your used hard drives to maximize their value?
  • A step-by-step guide to securely selling your hard drives
  • Tips for selling specific brands of hard drives (and how to ensure you'll get the best price)

Also, keep in mind that we'll cover all forms of hard drives in this guide: traditional HDDs with motorized disk platters, SSDs (Solid State Drives), and even hybrid drives.

Without further ado, let us begin:

Selling VS Repurposing VS Recycling: Is Selling Your Hard Drives Your Best Option?

First things first, is selling your hard drive the best option at the moment? 

Each hard drive is unique, and to answer this question, you'll need to first consider several different factors:

  • The age and condition of the hard drive, whether the drive can still function properly
  • What's the resale value of the hard drive? Obviously, the newer and the better the condition, the more expensive it will be, but brands and models also matter.
  • If you are planning to get a replacement drive (upgrade), what's the price of the replacement drive? Is the gap with the old drive's resale value too big?
  • Whether the drive contains sensitive, confidential, or regulated data

Basically, with your used hard drives, you always have three main options:

  1. Recycling: in this approach, your hard drive is totally destroyed (whether via secure data eradication or physical destruction) and then recycled. Recycling is the approach to take if the resale value of the hard drive is already too low or if the drive contains sensitive/regulated data and the risk is just too significant.
  2. Repurposing: this is the option to take if your drive is still in a pretty good condition, but the resale value is too low. You can use the hard drive on other devices or repurpose it as an external drive.
  3. Selling: If the resale value of the hard drive is still reasonably good and you are confident about secure data wiping (or if you sell to a reputable IT asset disposition company), then you should sell your hard drive. If you plan to replace the drive, then selling your used hard drive can also help finance the upgrade.

Also, if you are a data center, then selling your hard drives may be a core aspect of your data center decommissioning process.

When Should You Sell Your Used Hard Drives?

Since we'd want to maximize the resale value and ROI of each used hard drive, the timing of selling your hard drive is very important. 

Obviously, the older the hard drive (or the worse its condition), the lower its resale value will be.

However, unless you are not planning to get a new, replacement hard drive (i.e., if you are retiring the whole data center or company), selling your hard drive too soon can also lower its ROI. 

You'd want to find the sweet spot between when the old drive's resale value is still relatively high, while the price for the replacement (newer) hard drive has gone down a bit, so the upgrade is not too expensive. The right timing can vary depending on the hard drive's (and the replacement's) model and other factors but in general, selling when a drive is 2-3 years old is a good time. 

How Much Is My Used Hard Drive Worth?

The resale value of an old/used hard drive can vary greatly depending on many factors, and here are some of the most important ones:

SSD VS HDD VS Hybrid Drives

Understanding the exact type of your hard drive is very important if you want to maximize its value. Nowadays, hard drives come in many different types and sizes and may feature various different technologies. 

We can group most hard drives available in the market into three main categories: standard HDDs, SSDs, and hybrid drives.

Standard Hard-Disk Drives (HDDs)

HDDs are characterized by how they feature motorized, quickly rotating magnetic platters. These rotating platters are equipped with a head that travels over the surfaces to either record or read data. There are two types of HDDs based on the platter's rotation speed: 5,400 RPM HDDs and 7,200 RPM HDDs. The faster the rotation, the faster the hard drive can retrieve and record data,

This technology is obviously quite old by today's standards, and since traditional HDDs are entirely mechanical, they are typically slower and more fragile than SSDs and hybrid drives. Yet, they are also much more affordable.

However, that doesn't mean HDDs are already obsolete. Today's newer HDDs are very reliable with massive storage spaces (there are now 20TB HDDs, although they are still costly.) There are also plans and experiments that aim to make these traditional HDDs even faster and more efficient.

Today's HDDs are connected via SATA IIII (Serial ATA III) interface, that despite being very reliable, is slower than other connectivity technologies. HDDs are very affordable and are the best option if you want bigger storage space, but it isn't a great bet if you are looking for data transfer speed.

Solid-State Drives (SSDs)

As the name suggests, Solid State Drives use solid-state memory rather than motorized disk to read and write data. 

To be more exact, SSDs utilize NAND flash memory to record and read data without any mechanical and magnetic components in it, and fewer moving parts would translate into faster and more reliable performance.

SSDs can read and write data much faster than standard HDDs with this technology: a 7,200 RPM HDD can deliver a read/write speed of 160MB/S, but SATA III SSDs can reach more than 500MB/s. Again, remember that SATA III is considered a "slow" connection technology by today's standards.

With that being said, there are high-end PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSDs that can reach a whopping 7,000 MB/s read speed.

Besides read/write speed, SSDs are also more durable since they don't contain any moving parts (and so aren't susceptible to movement or impact damages.) However, that's not saying SSDs are perfect.

For instance, SSDs are typically much more expensive than comparable HDDs with similar storage sizes. Also, while SSDs are very reliable in most cases, once they fail, recovering data from them can be easier said than done. So, when it comes to selling hard drives, a broken SSD can drop really hard on resale value. 

Hybrid Hard Drives

Hybrid hard drives, also often called SSHDs (Solid State Hard Drives), typically use the traditional motorized disk platters but also have a relatively small NAND flash memory in them, hence "hybrid."

With this combination of technologies, the hard drive will store the most frequently accessed data (i.e., data crucial for OS operations) on the flash memory, and the rest of the data is stored in the traditional hard drive portion.

This allows users to enjoy the speed and performance of an SSD at a lower cost. Also, using a single SSHD is relatively easier to manage than using two separate SSD and HDD (a common practice to lower cost). 

However, with SSDs getting more affordable in recent years, hybrid hard drives are no longer popular.

Storage Size/Capacity

The amount of data the hard drive can hold is among the most significant factors determining its value. The bigger its capacity, the more expensive it will be. 

Nowadays, hard drive capacity is measured in gigabytes or terabytes, and a 500GB HDD/SDD is considered pretty modest by today's standards. High-end HDDs and SSDs can have more than 10TB storage capacity.

For HDDs: Rotation Speeds and Physical Size

Traditional HDDs come in two physical sizes: 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch, and in most cases, a 2.5-inch HDD is more expensive than a 3.5-inch drive with similar storage space. This is due to the tighter and more complex construction, and typically a 2.5-inch HDD will consume less power. 

However, 3.5" HDDs can handle faster rotation speeds (which typically translates into speedier read/write speeds). 3.5-inch HDDs can come in 10,000 and 15,000 RPM models, but 2.5-inch HDDs can "only" handle up to 7,200 RPM.

The higher the RPM speed, the more expensive the hard drive.


Hard drives can use different types of connectors, and the different types of interfaces can also affect speed and reliability. 

For HDDs, here are the common interface standards:

  • ATA/IDE: Advanced Technology Attachment/Integrated Drive Electronics is an older standard interface for HDDs. Quite rare at the moment, as many HDD manufacturers have switched over to SATA. If your HDD has an ATA/IDE interface, it's probably a sign that it's an older drive.
  • SATA: Serial ATA is the standard interface for most HDDs manufactured after 2007. SATA revision 3.5 interface has just been released in July 2020. Not the fastest interface, but SATA connectors are available in virtually all types of home and enterprise computers.
  • Fibre Channel, SCSI, SAS: These industrial-grade interfaces are rare in home computers and typically are only found in enterprise-level servers and storage systems.

For SSDs, we also have several common interface standards:

  • SATA: similar to HDD. While SATA is slower when compared to other technologies, SATA SSDs can connect to older computers that don't have newer SSD connectors, which can translate into more potential buyers.
  • M.2 SATA: SSDs with M.2 SATA connectors are smaller and lighter, so they can be used on smaller computers and laptops. However, the speed is the same as a regular SATA SSD, up to 600 MB/s.
  • mSATA: mSATA stands for mini SATA, typically used in smaller computers, including mobile devices. Latest mSATA SSDs can reach 6GB/s in read/write speed with lower power consumption. However, mSATA SSDs are still very expensive.
  • M.2 PCIe: Latest SSDs use NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory express) controller to connect to PCIe interface bus, which can result in very high-performance speed (up to 2000 MB/s). Still relatively expensive at the moment, and only high-end consumer motherboards offer PCIe connectors.

Brand and Model

Hard drives coming from reputable manufacturers are obviously more expensive than those coming from unknown ones, and there may also be specific models that are more expensive than others.

Seagate, Western Digital, SanDisk, Dell, Hitachi, Toshiba, and HP are some of the top names when it comes to hard drive manufacturers.

Selling Your Used Hard Drive: Step-By-Step Guide

If, after you've considered everything, you are still 100% sure about selling your used hard drives, here we will discuss a few key steps to get your old hard drives sold securely and quickly while maximizing their value. 

Let us begin with the first step right away:

Step 1: listing the details of your hard drives

Accurately identify everything about your hard drive so you can know what it's currently worth. 

You should list:

  • Type (HDD, SSD, Hybrid)
  • Brand
  • Model
  • Quantity (if you are selling more than one hard drive)
  • Serial number
  • Connector/interface type
  • Capacity/storage size
  • Condition 
  • Pictures of condition and serial number

If you are only selling one hard drive, this might not be a big issue, but consider creating a dedicated spreadsheet if you are selling multiple ones in bulk. A comprehensive spreadsheet can help you in offering your items to prospective buyers.

Step 2: Take pictures

Next, take pictures of the used hard drive(s), so you can offer the drive to prospective buyers.

The objective here is to provide an accurate representation of the hard drive, so it doesn't have to be a professionally-taken picture. Simple, clear photos taken by your phone would be sufficient. 

It's important to take pictures of the serial/model numbers, especially if you're looking to sell to ITAD companies.

Also, be honest. If there are any defects on the hard drive, mention them and take pictures of these defects. 

Step 3: Finding potential buyers

In general, you have two main options to sell your hard drives: finding your buyer on your own (direct-selling) or selling your hard drive to an IT asset disposition company.

Each of these options has its perks:

Finding direct buyers: Pros and cons

You can try finding your own buyer, for example, through friends or by listing your hard drives on online marketplaces like Amazon.

The main advantage of selling direct is freedom: you can set your own prices and wait for a buyer who'd like to make the transaction on your terms. Also, IT disposition companies may not want to deal with you if you are only selling one or two drives, but this won't be an issue in direct selling.

In short, you can potentially get more money per sale, but finding your buyers may not be easy. Also, if you are selling directly, secure data deletion is your responsibility.

Selling to IT asset disposition (company)

An IT disposition company specializes in buying and selling used IT assets, so they'll handle all the work while ensuring both themselves and your company stay compliant with relevant regulations.

A key advantage in selling through ITAD companies is that they can handle data deletion. Look for R2 recycling companies like Big Data Supply Inc. that not only ensures secure data deletion but will ensure all processes taken to your hard drives and other IT assets are environmentally friendly. 

R2 certification is awarded only to companies that have achieved responsible recycling standards that also have followed appropriate data security best practices. On the other hand, RIOS certification is an ANSI accredited standard that acknowledges the service provider's compliance to ISO:9001 (service quality), ISO:14001 (eco-friendly), and OHSAS:18001 (health and safety).

Big data Supply Inc. can also provide Certificates of Data Destruction after your hard drive has been securely wiped. In the events when you are needed to prove your company's responsibility to consumer data, these certificates are legally recognized.

Keep in mind that when selling to ITAD companies, you don't set your own prices. Typically these companies will send an offer for your drives, and you can either choose to accept or refuse that price. 

Step 4: Ensure data security

It's essential to securely wipe data stored in the hard drives before selling them. Not only do you want to protect your privacy, but depending on the industry you're in, secure data wiping may be a legal requirement for you to stay compliant with relevant regulations. 

If you choose to sell your hard drives through an ITAD company, then secure data deletion won't be an issue as they'll do it for you. 

However, if you choose to find your own buyers, you'll also need to perform secure wiping on your own. Below we will discuss how.

Secure wiping HDDs

If you have a Windows computer, you can use the DBAN utility (free) to easily perform a secure wipe on your HDD. DBAN is pretty reliable in ensuring the deleted data is unrecoverable. 

If you don't have a Windows computer and can only use Macs, then you can use macOS's Disk Utility for secure wiping. Go to the Utilities folder (Apple+Shift+U), run Disk Utility, and format the HDD three times. Make sure not to perform quick format instead.

Secure wiping SSDs

First, identify the SSD's manufacturer if you haven't already. Typically your SSD's manufacturer (i.e., Western Digital, SanDisk, Samsung, etc.) offers their own disk management software that can help you in securely wiping the SSD. Go to the manufacturer's website and try to find such software.

However, if you can't find the software solution for one reason or another, you can try to use Gparted (free).

Again, keep in mind that if you perform the data erasion yourself, you will not get any Certificate of Data Destruction. Check your local, federal, and state regulations whether obtaining Certificates of Data Destruction is legally required.

Step 5: Packaging and shipping

Depending on who your buyer is, you may need to ship the hard drive to them, or they'll pick it up for you. Nevertheless, you'd want to package the hard drive carefully, so you don't damage the hard drive. You wouldn't want to accidentally damage the hard drive before it's sold, which can cost you money.

If you need to ship your hard drive, it's best to buy insurance on your package just to be extra sure. Even if the hard drive has been packaged properly, shippers could accidentally damage or lose the hard drive, and without insurance, you'll need to absorb the cost.

Last but not least, if you are selling multiple drives in bulk and need to ship multiple boxes, it's important to label the different boxes correctly. This will help the receiver (buyer) when unpacking the hard drives so you can avoid confusion and disputes.

Wrapping Up

Selling your used hard drives shouldn't be a scary task, and there are ways to securely wipe your data and ensure it's unrecoverable.

Buying and selling used IT equipment, including used hard drives, is Big Data Supply Inc.'s specialty, and we are ready to be your partner in maximizing the value of your used hard drives.

Don't hesitate to leave any comments and questions below, and if you'd like to inquire for a quote on selling your old hard drives, contact us 1 (866) 411-4890 at or fill out the online form here.

Sell IBM 3592-JB Tape Media P/N 23R9830

Looking to dispose, recycle, buy or sell excess new or used 3592 JB data tape media? Ever ask yourself what is the best way to recycle 3592 data tape media?
Big Data Supply, Inc. (that’s us) pays the highest dollar possible for new and used tape. Please contact us right away if you have IBM part number for 3592JB tape media is 23R9830, we are paying more now than ever! Our streamlined buyback program assures each and every one of our customers that they are gaining the very best deal without compromising their data. We can either provide cash or credit that can be applied toward newer tape formats and other data storage products. We also buy other 3592 formats such as the JJ and JC versions: IBM Part Number 46X7452 3592 "JC" Advanced Data Cartridge IBM Part Number 24R0316 3592 "JJ" Economy Data Cartridge To assure that all data on used tapes is completely destroyed, we utilize our proprietary method for data destruction – assuring that you will comply with industry regulations as set forth by Sarbanes-Oxley, SOX, HIPAA, the SEC, and more. There are numerous reasons as to why selling your new and used tape is the right thing to do, including: • You can collect some quick cash. • It’s an environmentally conscious thing to do. • It’s quick and easy. • You’ll comply with industry regulations for data destruction. For more information on selling your new and used 3592JB data tape and/or other formats, contact our IT buyback team. Contact us today: [email protected] | Toll Free 800-905-7329 | Local 714-647-9000

We recently saw the following headline from an article in the LA Times:

As venture capital dries up, tech start-ups discover frugality

It isn’t often that you see the words frugality and start-ups together in the same article let alone the same sentence! Why is this frugality the latest craze?

“Tech start-up Appthority's office has plush conference rooms, soundproof phone booths, an enormous kitchen and a view of San Francisco Bay. It has ping-pong and foosball tables, beer on tap and 11 types of tea.

The cybersecurity company owns none of it. And that's how the company's president and co-founder, Domingo Guerra, likes it.

"Any time you have flexibility and you don't have a liability, it looks good on the books," Guerra said.”

This combination of flexibility without liability is fueling more than just start-ups these days. Many businesses are making their move to the cloud for their infrastructure needs because they can have a flexible IT environment without showing any assets.

One by-product of this move to frugality, however, is what these companies are doing with their hardware and data storage media which was once their infrastructure. Companies’ IT hardware still has value, and smart businesses are cashing in on these assets. With just a minimal effort, they not only make their business more flexible in the cloud, but they even get money for their old assets. Used servers, used hard drives, tape drives, tape libraries, switches, data tape media cartridges, and telecom products can be exchanged for cash with Big Data Supply.

Many companies, especially in emerging markets, need IT equipment but are not in the market for the ‘latest and greatest’ so they turn to the secondary market where they can buy refurbished IT equipment for just a fraction of the cost. What’s one man’s junk is another man’s treasure.

So embrace this move to frugality in your business by selling older IT assets and equipment that are being replaced with new machines or moving to the cloud. As the LA Times reminds us, look for ways of “trimming excess, finding flexibility and, sometimes, being scrappy. You know, like a start-up.” Our friendly service team at Big Data Supply is standing by, ready to turn your old IT equipment into cash and start you on the road to frugality.

LTO 6 TapesSony LTO-6 lto 6 lto6

For businesses that require large amounts of archival storage, you need an effective and secure method to keep all of your records readily available. LTO tapes are ideal for large amounts of media that needs to be stored and are often utilized by medium businesses to large enterprises. With large amounts of memory available in a compact and convenient package, LTO media can be your go-to storage solution.

Benefits of LTO 6 Data Tapes

Data tapes are one of the most trusted methods for backing up large amounts of data. LTO data tapes are one of the newest innovations in the tape drive marketplace and are manufactured by companies such as TDK, Sun Oracle, Sony, and Quantum. LTO 6 tapes have a low starting price point, but still offer massive amounts of data space for your digital media. Compressed data capacity on LTO 6 data tapes are 2.5 to 6.25 TB, with transfer speeds of up to 400MB/s. The way they operate is LTO data tapes writes data on magnetic tape, which can be read with the use of compatible tape drives. Data is placed in sections along the tape and the drive allows you to access the exact media you need quickly. The amount of data found on the tape dictates rewind times, but they are typically under a minute. Access times are even quicker and can clock in at about 45 seconds or less. Transfer rates are constantly improving with LTO 6 tapes being the fastest currently.

LTO is an advancement in the field of magnetic tapes since it boasts a more compact design. The tapes have been optimized for high storage capacities and reels are typically only a half-inch on the cartridges. Even with large amounts of archival data, you won’t have an issue finding what you need on the tapes. A catalog file is updated each time new data is added onto the media. The catalog files can also be used as backup methods for the data stored. Security is always a concern, especially amongst business owners who handle files containing medical or financial information. This is why many of the tapes come with advanced encryption standards in place to prevent the data from being compromised.

Since LTO 6 tapes aren’t required to directly work with your company's operating system, they are not dependent on what type of computer you have. They are also portable, so you can use LTO tapes to store archival files from multiple locations. One of the major benefits of this storage media is the impressive lifespan of the cartridges. Each tape boasts an archival life of approximately 30 years. The rugged body construction of the data tapes helps ensure longevity.

LTO 6 Tape Media Recycling

For firms that are no longer utilizing data tapes, there may be uncertainty over what to do with the media. In this case, you should sell your tape drives a company like Big Data Supply. We can eliminate all existing data on the tapes in order to ensure you remain in compliance with privacy laws and regulations. As part of our data removal process, the company ensures that all media on the tapes is no longer recoverable. They also buy data tapes from companies who no longer require the storage devices and only resell the products after all data has been completely destroyed.

Big Data Supply is available to answer all of your questions about LTO tape media products and uses. Give us a call today or fill out our short form for more information on LTO 6 tapes to discuss what type of data center supplies your business can benefit from.

Tape Media Drives And Cartridge

When we think of a storage medium for backups, in business or professional environments, NAS and high capacity hard drive cabinets immediately come to mind, but ... is it sure that it is the most profitable, efficient and safe medium?  With storage needs growing non-stop thanks to new technologies such as big data, cloud, streaming, large-scale computing and IoT, having a cost-effective, secure and efficient storage is a priority for the majority of companies.

During the past year, many advances in the technology of backup tape have been announced, which continue to make its use attractive.  The tape media drives and cartridge work as a secure storage medium, with high capacity and with even better performance, remains in the first position of choice for many companies and data centers. Let's see its advantages over the disc.

Tapes 5 times faster than hard drives

According to industry estimates, by 2025 the transfer rate of the tape media drives is expected to be five times higher than that of the HDDs. This announcement should let us check, but it is not necessary to go so far:

    • IBM announced a tape drive with a capacity of 15 TB uncompressed (45 TB with compression) with the use of 3592 tape cartridges.
    • The LTO consortium announced its roadmap with specifications for LTO-12 with a capacity of 192 TB (480TB with compression).
    • Sony Corp in 2017 announced the development of a technology for tapes with a density of 201 Gbps (GB per square inch). This would allow 330TB cartridges.
    • Fujifilm has applied for the patent for tape drives with strontium ferrite with a storage potential of 400 TB per cartridge, i.e. 224 Gbspi.
    • The LTFS file system allows you to use the tapes as if they were disk-based storage, transparent to the user.

Cost per GB and TCO

With all this escalation in storage capacity, what does it produce? The cost per gigabyte in tape media drives and cartridge is traditionally lower than hard drives. It makes the tape the technology with the best total cost of ownership (TCO) for long-term data retention compared to other storage media. In this 2016 comparison, the TCO of the tape drives was seven times better than a hard drive. With the new formats, it will continue to increase.

A tape cartridge does not consume power

One point often overlooked is the CO2 consumption or carbon footprint that hard disk storage produces compared to the tape. The tape media drives are very efficient, with very little electrical consumption during operation. With the energy consumption of stored data growing exponentially year after year, many organizations are looking for technologies to reduce the carbon footprint by storing their data, and many are turning to tape technology for this. Some comparative data:

  • 3 PB of data stored on disks consumes 18 tons of CO2 per year.
  • The same amount of information on tape consumes 0.5 tons of CO2.
  • Disk-based systems consume 70% more energy than tape-based systems.
  • Converting 33% of disk storage to tape would save 200 million megawatts per year.
The safe and portable medium

Tape media drives and cartridges are not only profitable and efficient, but it is also one of the most reliable ways to store information and protect it against ransomware attacks or hackers. Why? The hard disks are always online, unless we disconnect the server, on the contrary, the tape cartridges are removed from the unit when the copy ends, and they are stored somewhere else offline.

Many people are under the impression that we have moved past using tape storage and it seems more like an outdated solution. It goes without saying that losing crucial data can be more costly than implementing a robust data protection plan. In this digital era, people are more inclined towards using hard drives and cloud backup with large storage capacities. The newer generation might not have even heard about tape media drives & cartridge. But, this is not true!

Organizations are still using tape storage such as HP LTO-4 Ultrium Cartridges in California, to store data or create backups. It is a viable option, and in multiple cases, it is far more popular than online storage methods. With such popularity in recent times, let’s discuss why this storage mode/method is still relevant today!


Tape storage was created when the first modern computers were found, back in 1950s. Back then, tape rolls could easily hold one megabyte of data on a tape storage. In recent times, tape storage has evolved significantly. Keeping up with the revolution of the likes of USBs, SSDs, and HDDs, there are tape storage devices that could store up to 1 terabyte of data. Typically, people do not consider it to be a practical solution, but the benefits it offer to individuals and organizations is the primary reason of its existence.

Tape storages are capable of reducing the data before storing. It is believed that it is lower than what a hard drive can do, making tape media drives & cartridge a cost effective option. What’s more is that these are cheaper than other options that are available on the market.

Let’s have a look at the pros and cons of tape storage.

It is important to understand that tape media drives & cartridge are not out of fashion. Yes, the use cases might have reduced due to more convenient options. But, it is a more affordable and durable option when compared to others. A tape storage device can store equivalent amount of data as that of an HDD. People think that it is not a modern technology and is not efficient as other options. The only downside is that it may take a lot of time to create a backup, transfer, or move files on a tape storage. When we talk about internet speed, cloud services and HDDs are a much better option. However, you will have to pay more to get the most out of these services. One of the primary reasons tape storage is still relevant today is because when it comes to restoring the lost data or an entire system, nothing is faster than tape media drives & cartridge.

The durability and affordability it offers is second to none when we compare tape storage and restore options. Hence in a nutshell, the technology may be overtaken by other options or new findings in near future. But, as of this moment tape storage is still relevant and numerous businesses are benefitting from its offerings.

Cloud Backup Service

In this technologically advanced world, people have started to leverage the offerings of cloud data storage. The cloud backup is a service through which cloud computing resources and infrastructure are used to create, edit, manage, and restore data, services, or application backup. This type of cloud storage is managed remotely over the internet service, which allows you to access your data anytime, anywhere.

Because you can access your data virtually, a cloud backup service actually prevents data loss that may occur due to hardware malfunction or natural disaster. In such cases, your data will remain safe in the offsite and remote storage platform. Making cloud backup a highly flexible and safe solution for all of your data storage needs.

Although the cloud backup is not a substitute for a local backup or data stored on an external hard drive or data tape, it is an easier and more accessible solution to it. When you store or perform a backup of your data through the cloud, you are actually creating a backup offsite. That means you can access your data offline. In addition to the easy accessibility of your data via a cloud backup, some of the cloud service providers also provide a mobile application making it accessible globally anywhere, anytime, or from any device.

Forget about carrying storage devices or running a remote server alone. With a cloud backup service, you only have to upload the data to store, allowing hassle free and efficient access to it whenever you want.

Apart from easy accessibility and data loss prevention, a cloud backup service is encrypted and protected offering an additional feature that provides protection from theft. Just as any good Internet service provider, such as IBM iSeries AS400 Cloud storage, all of your data in transit and stored in their servers are encrypted. You can also have the option to use your own key for the data encryption, taking data storage and security to the next level.

In this technologically advanced era, cloud backup services have become an industry standard for storing data. Due to its numerous benefits, people and companies have started relying on cloud backup service as it is now needed more than ever. From flexibility, scalability, enhanced performance and easy accessibility you can take your business to the next level with a professional cloud backup service provider.