The StarTech USB 3.0 drive eraser is a very simple device. It is built to manage the erasure of one SATA hard drive or SSD at a time. While we used to have custom servers just to do this exact task, we have been using these units since 2016 with great success. In fact, when our original 2016 unit failed, we purchased another. The StarTech USB 3.0 Drive Eraser has become the tool we use to quickly erase drives and get them ready for re-deployment in Ceph/ OpenStack clusters as an example.
StarTech USB 3.0 Drive Eraser Mini-Review
Overall, the StarTech USB 3.0 Drive Eraser is a very simple device. The technical model number for the unit is SDOCK1EU3P. Here is the front of the unit where there is a LCD display, up and down navigation arrows and both an OK and Escape button. That structure shows the simplicity of the device. You can navigate up and down through the simple menus and you can confirm or escape. That is it.
Atop the unit, there is the drive bay. You can use either a 2.5″ hard drive or SSD in the cutout. If you have a 3.5″ drive, the flap simply folds down as you insert the drive. Ejecting the drives is done via a mechanical button and lever on the side of the unit.
Overall, this has worked well for hundreds of drives we have erased. There are a few items to note. First, this is a SATA only device. It will not work with SAS drives. In fact, it is a SATA II 3.0Gbps device so while SATA III drives will work, they will not do so at full speeds. Second, you need to remove drives from their trays and insert the bare drive. That is important since if you have a drive tray with four screws, the process can take slightly longer. We would love to see the StarTech USB 3.0 Drive Eraser be able to erase drives directly from their hot-swap drive trays as it saves labor.
The rear of the unit has a DC input and power switch. When you turn on the unit, it actually has a short bootup process that takes a few seconds. One can also connect the unit to USB 3.0 and use it as a dock. Finally, there is a serial port for serial printers. As you erase drives, the StarTech USB 3.0 Drive Eraser can capture the serial number, date, time, and method of wiping and print that information directly.
The key drive erasure modes are:
- Quick Erase
- 1-Pass Overwrite (NIST SP 800-88 Rev 1 – Clear)
- 3-Pass Overwrite
- 7-Pass Overwrite
- Custom Erase
- Secure Erase (NIST SP 800-88 Rev 1 – Purge)
- Enhanced Secure Erase (NIST SP 800-88 Rev 1 – Purge)
These can be selected via the LCD display and executed with an “OK.”
It really is that simple. We made a quick ~3-minute video on how it works and what is inside the unit if you want to check that out on YouTube. This is certainly the case where a video is easier to use to show off how the unit works and what is inside.
We purchased our original unit in 2016, but it failed earlier this year. We used that one to show what is inside the StarTech USB 3.0 Drive Eraser.
Looking at our purchase pricing, this was $210 in 2016 and around $205 in 2019. That makes it one of the most costly USB 3.0 docks out there. It is also a USB 3.0 5.0Gbps device but it is limited to SATA II 3.0Gbps drive speeds making only a USB 3.0 drive adapter for cases where something faster is not available. At the same time, if you are erasing many SATA drives per week, this saves a lot of time.
Many of our readers are going to see this and think, $200 for a drive eraser is silly. Previously, we used a small PC setup solely to wipe drives. We have phased out hard drives for everything except backup storage in the lab, and SSDs erase quickly. $200 is not that much for a device that is silent, low power, and easy to use. On the other hand, if you look at it from a hardware perspective, this is a relatively pricey unit.
In the end, we use the StarTech USB 3.0 Drive Eraser as a tool in the lab. We purchase a lot of tools in the lab for specific tasks. When it came time to re-evaluate how we do this, even given we are transitioning to SAS3/ NVMe in systems, it was still something we purchased again and continue to use it weekly.