[Beowulf] Data Destruction

Scott Atchley e.scott.atchley at gmail.com
Wed Sep 29 14:32:32 UTC 2021

For our users that have sensitive data, we keep it encrypted at rest and in

For HDD-based systems, you can perform a secure erase per NIST standards.
For SSD-based systems, the extra writes from the secure erase will
contribute to the wear on the drives and possibly their eventually wearing
out. Most SSDs provide an option to mark blocks as zero without having to
write the zeroes. I do not think that it is exposed up to the PFS layer
(Lustre, GPFS, Ceph, NFS) and is only available at the ext4 or XFS layer.

On Wed, Sep 29, 2021 at 10:15 AM Paul Edmon <pedmon at cfa.harvard.edu> wrote:

> The former.  We are curious how to selectively delete data from a parallel
> filesystem.  For example we commonly use Lustre, ceph, and Isilon in our
> environment.  That said if other types allow for easier destruction of
> selective data we would be interested in hearing about it.
> -Paul Edmon-
> On 9/29/2021 10:06 AM, Scott Atchley wrote:
> Are you asking about selectively deleting data from a parallel file system
> (PFS) or destroying drives after removal from the system either due to
> failure or system decommissioning?
> For the latter, DOE does not allow us to send any non-volatile media
> offsite once it has had user data on it. When we are done with drives, we
> have a very big shredder.
> On Wed, Sep 29, 2021 at 9:59 AM Paul Edmon via Beowulf <
> beowulf at beowulf.org> wrote:
>> Occassionally we get DUA (Data Use Agreement) requests for sensitive
>> data that require data destruction (e.g. NIST 800-88). We've been
>> struggling with how to handle this in an era of distributed filesystems
>> and disks.  We were curious how other people handle requests like this?
>> What types of filesystems to people generally use for this and how do
>> people ensure destruction?  Do these types of DUA's preclude certain
>> storage technologies from consideration or are there creative ways to
>> comply using more common scalable filesystems?
>> Thanks in advance for the info.
>> -Paul Edmon-
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