Andrada Fiscutean of Motherboard writes:
ING Bank’s main data center in Bucharest, Romania, was severely damaged over the weekend during a fire extinguishing test. In what is a very rare but known phenomenon, it was the loud sound of inert gas being released that destroyed dozens of hard drives. The site is currently offline and the bank relies solely on its backup data center, located within a couple of miles’ proximity.
Surprise surprise folks. Hard disk drives (HDDs) have moving parts and if a sound is loud enough (sounds are just a vibration in the air, remember) then it might cause the read/write heads of your hard drive to jiggle so much that they end up crashing.
According to reports, the data center downtime caused credit card transactions to fail, internet banking to fail, and ATMs to go kaput. Disgruntled customers expressed their displeasure on Facebook.
Some of you may remember a viral video by Sun’s Brendan Gregg that warned us all some years ago about the dangers of “Shouting in the Data Center”:
Of course, it’s not just volume that is the issue (in Gregg’s video you can see that it is already quite noisy even when he isn’t shouting). The frequency of the loud noise also has its part to play.
For what it’s worth, solid state drives (SSDs) don’t have any moving parts which means that they’re not going to care if they suffer a shock or vibration.