What’s wrong with this picture?
A friend rides herd on a college data center and reports that one of the hot spares in a drive array started complaining about errors. By the time he got to it, things had gone from bad to worse to worst: the drive was spinning, but its data was gone.
He removed all the head frippery before giving me the carcass, but the platters are exacty as they were when he ripped through those “Warranty Void If Removed” stickers.
Even though disk platters are now made of glass in order to achieve adequate flatness tolerances, you’re not supposed to be able to see through the things. There’s a bare millimeter of untouched plating on the inner and outer rims; everything else is finely ground glass.
Evidently the drive suffered a head crash or some part of the plating peeled off, after which the debris acted as grinding compound under the heads on the rest of the platters. Eventually the internal filters clogged and the ensuing dust storm scrubbed the glass platters clean.
He said the inside of the drive was filled with impalpable silvery dust. Another friend deadpanned “Oh, so all the data was still in the drive, right?
We decided that sorting all those dust grains into the right order would tax even Iranian “students”.
More than you likely want to know about hard drive platters resides there.