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How does disk sanitization in ONTAP help to prevent recovery of data?

Last Updated:

Applies to

  • FAS and AFF systems
  • ONTAP 9


  • The disk sanitization feature in ONTAP removes and prevents data from being recovered on physical media according to NIST SP 800-88r1 guidelines for media sanitization.
  • Disk sanitization is commonly performed in instances where there was either a data spill (classified or sensitive data that ends up in an unsecure location) or when physical media is being returned or removed from production.
  • Knowledge of NetApp disk sanitization helps ensure the sanitization method chosen (Clear, Purge or Destroy) meets the confidentiality needs (low, moderate or high impact) of the operational environment.
  • For systems running ONTAP without encrypted drives, leveraging the ‘disk sanitize’ command with three cycles of overwrite patterns applied in succession adheres to the standard laid out by the US Department of Defense (DoD) in the National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual (DoD 5220.22-M) for HDD media (SAS/ SATA/ NL-SAS). 
  • ONTAP systems leveraging encrypted drives can use the ‘encryption disk sanitize’ to cryptographically sanitize SEDs, making the existing data impossible to retrieve, and complying with the NIST 800-88 Purge standard.


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