back to article Keep your voice down in the data centre, the HDDs have ears! I SAID, KEEP...

It must be one of the worst ways to build a microphone imaginable, tapping into a disk drive's nanosecond head stops as it waits for the vibrations caused by sound to cease, but it has been done. When sound meets a disk drive, the sonic vibrations cause a shaking in the disk drive and the platters vibrate. The drive's control …

  1. malle-herbert Silver badge

    They should start...

    A "worlds crappiest microphone" competition...

    Because everything seems to have ears these days...

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. bernardo.ortiz

    Faster hard drives???

    This is very interesting. This means that if I apply noise cancellation technology used in headphones I can prevent the hard drive from stopping getting higher throughput from existing hard drives. Wonder if this can be done by an external device or if I need to work with the hard drive manufacturer to get it built in.

    1. DJO Silver badge

      Re: Faster hard drives???

      I suspect you'll find the reaction times of a noise cancelling system is longer than the reaction time of the hard drives so this avenue is probably a dead end

      1. jmch Silver badge

        Re: Faster hard drives???

        Active noise cancellation might be useless, but isolating noisy components in the datacenter and soundproofing everything else might help.

        Of coursesound proofing necessarily blocks or restricts ventilation, so maybe a combination of soundproofing with liquid cooling. Is that too complex/expensive to improve disk performance. And how much improvement are we talking here? article doesn't specify but I would guess that if noise were a major problem interfering with disks, I would have heard a lot of noise about it :)

  3. JamesPond

    TLAs using SSDs

    I guess all the TLA security services will be using SSDs from now on then, along with the Iranian and NORKs nuclear research facilities.

  4. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    So, the next '007 evil genius plan will be . .

    to stop the London Stock Exchange by blasting a rock concert in the server room ?

    Well, we've had worse.

    1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

      Re: So, the next '007 evil genius plan will be . .

      Security: Is that a violin in that violin case?

      Baddy: Nope, just a tommy gun.

      Security: Oh sorry mate, carry on.

  5. Khaptain Silver badge

    What about the inbuilt speaker

    Don't some of the servers already have small inbuilt speaker that can be reversed ?

  6. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    " found a 130Hz tone played for two seconds caused a disk drive to shut itself down."


    Well I suppose if you wanted to shut down a server room without any visible sign of damage to the servers (assuming they still run HDD) this might have its uses.

    Why would you want to do that other than some elaborate BOFH plan?

  7. Gary Bickford

    Full circle dept. - drives were once used to make music

    I probably still have the IBM 1130 assembler code that sent signals to the big old Winchester “washing machine” disk drives at different frequencies. The program took input in the form “AABBC+” etc. to form musical output. Output was generated by setting a transistor radio on the console above where the channel wires were routed. The signals in the wires were powerful enough to generate sounds on an A.M. radio nearby.

    Needless to say this was probably not good for the Winchester drive!

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It could be worse

  9. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Big Brother

    George Orwell called it a "Telescreen."

    A device you can't turn off, that may (or may not) be listening to you at any minute of the day.

    Except companies have persuaded people that this is necessary and that they want it.

    IRL watches and phones have been able to do short real time speech recognition (IE the "wake up" bit) for decades.

  10. Pat Harkin

    " great noisy whine"

    Is this the new El Reg unit of loudness? Not volume, obviously, that's the grapefruit (imperial), if I recall correctly, or the cubic linguine (metric)

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: " great noisy whine"

      I thought that unit was "The Donald"?

  11. David Roberts Silver badge


    When a bearing craps out on a drive the whole array shuts down in sympathy?

  12. Mike007

    Today I fired up some old disk shelves that made me adjust the labs noise-rating. Previously we were at "bloody loud", but after accounting for the extra equipment we now have a new designation of "DID YOU SAY SOMETHING?".

    Are you telling me the slow performance is due to the noise? I thought it was because of the 10 year old disks...

  13. Dave 13

    Just say no..

    Just say no to spinning rust. If you're still buying it today, you'll hate yourself in 6 months.

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