data recovery

About RAID Data Recovery

A wide majority of small-to-medium business enterprises across the world have nowadays turned to RAID-configured systems, services for most if not all of their storage solutions. Some of the most frequently given reasons for opting to utilize RAID Arrays services in business enterprises today are the highly fault-tolerant levels that the solution offers its users and the most of all the cost effectiveness of the acquisition and maintenance of the system.

This is, however, accompanied by an anticlimax that, if for some reason a RAID Array fails as may be a result of component malfunctions (such as hard disk drives and controller cards) or even in the event of operating and application corruption, then it leaves all the data unusable and in most cases than not corrupted.

RAID data recovery is an extremely intricate task since the RAID data configurations most of the times have different forms of data layouts depending on their manufacturers, this is often for competitive purposes. Therefore, it goes without saying that without an in-depth and acute knowledge of how RAID arrays are usually configured in hardware, firmware and even software levels, the data recovery attempts will not only fail completely, but will also result in far much worse data corruption.

By putting into use its vast knowledge of RAID Array storage technology systems, some companies such as Seagate Recovery Services can reliably and successfully manage to recover data from the very earliest to the most recent SAN, NAS and Server RAID configurations available in the market today.

Guidelines for Raid Data Recovery

In the event that you have realized that you are handling a RAID failure and therefore you will need Raid Data recovery, the first step is to write down all that you know about the original configuration of the array i.e. ensure that you label all the member disks with a marker. These, along with the drive disks, also label the controller ports and all the cables. Then subsequently you can use the numbering format to refer to any particular disk. RAID recovery normally implies the recovery of logical RAID configuration that is made up of the following parameters; RAID type, number of its member disks and their order, block sizes, start, offset for data on member disks (this information is in most cases not given).

The logical RAID configuration is accessible in RAID controller BIOS or in RAID monitoring and configuration software. If you manage to determine all parameters, RAID recovery is accomplished for you. All the information relates to the preparation to RAID recovery that aims at reconstructing missing RAID configuration parameters. All of the information given above must be collected so as to enable you return to the original configuration should there be a need to.

A computer crash also known as a system crash, refers to the event whereby a computer program such as a software application or even an operating system stops functioning normally. It will in most cases than often exit the affected program soon after encountering this type of error. The program responsible for the crash may appear to freeze until a crash reporting service, that usually alerts the user about the crash, reports the crash and potentially all the details relating to it. Should it be that the program is a critical part of the operating system, and then the entire computer may end up crashing, which often results in a fatal system error, usually signified by the ominous blue screen. In most cases the crashes are as a result of a single or multiple machine instructions running incorrectly. In such cases it is paramount that the necessary Data Recovery Procedures be established.

Common Causes of Computer Crashes

In most case scenarios the crash occurs unexpectedly, leaving one dumbfounded on what may have transpired and what exactly to do about it. It is critical for each and every person working with computers or using them for data storage purposes be well acquainted with the data recovery procedures as this will come in handy in the sudden unwanted event of your computer crashing.

A computer crash may be caused by a number of factors, including; the use of an outdated or in some cases misbehaving device driver, a computer virus is also a common cause of computer crashes, the use of a corrupted program, or it may be that the problem is actually with your computer’s memory. The solutions to sort out these problems also vary widely as well, depending on the particular problem.

How to Go About the Data Recovery Procedure

The process of data recovery on the drive normally starts with one evaluating of the drive. Soon after the data recovery, hard drive company you have outsourced receive your failed hard drive, the media will then be logged into their system for the purpose of evaluation. This is usually performed by the data recovery technicians. They will give you their initial diagnosis, including total recovery costs as well as the estimated duration of the data recovery, hard drive procedure starting from the date of receiving your hard drive. Most data recovery, hard drive companies are actually able to repair the damaged drive within a period of 24 to 48 hours.

Then after the Data Recovery Drive evaluation process is complete, the company normally waits for the customer’s approval in order to proceed. Once they have received the approval to go ahead with the data recovery procedure, the damaged hard drive is then being “cloned”. It is then re-queued for real data recovery procedures. Some data recovery companies offer expedited services for their members after the evaluation procedure. For them, this service allows the customers’ drive to avoid the recovery queue and therefore become next in line for the data recovery.

Data salvage or recovery refers to the process of retrieving and managing the information through the records from essentially either damaged or even corrupted and inaccessible the secondary storage your devices when it cannot be accessed through the normal way. Most of the time the data is being saved from Storage Media Devices such as the external or internal hard disks, solid-state drives, USB flash disks or memory sticks, storage tapes, Compact disks, Digital versatile disks, RAID, and other electronic storage devices. The recovery may be required due to the physical damage to the storage device or the logical damage to the device file system that thereby prevents it from being mounted by the host operating system.


Data Salvaging Tools

The main data salvaging tools basically are a wide range of data salvage software that is made available by the data salvaging companies. These can be accessed online for a fee or are in some cases offered for by the data salvaging companies and it is easy to download them and put them to use. There are also a couple of simple instructions that are made available to give directions to those users that may not be very well acquainted with the procedures of using the software. However, in cases where the damage to the data storage device is extreme, one may have to ship it to the data recovery company so that they employ the use of special machinery and procedures to be able to retrieve the data.

Data salvaging Process

One of the best data salvage techniques is to ensure that you have data already backed up on another storage device, be it on the same computer, or on a network server or even the Internet. Then the data recovery becomes a very simple copy procedure after the failed storage device has been replaced. In the worst case scenario, some if not all applications may have to be re-installed if only the user data was the one backed up, however, unless the applications are that of vintage programs may no longer available, the data is far much more valuable than the software itself.

In the scenario whereby there is no backup and the data has to be recovered, there are a number of organizations that normally specialize in the retrieval of data from the damaged computers. They may use different techniques as being able to move the drive to another working computer, or they may just have to open the drive itself and replace certain parts such as the read/write heads, the actuator arms and the chips. In certain cases, the platters are removed and then placed into another drive.

The newer disk drives are usually tested during manufacture, and parameters that are unique to that drive stored in its firmware. As one uses the drive, data regarding bad sectors are also added. In case the drive is badly damaged in the areas which contain the drive information, replacing the parts may not be enough for recovery of the data.

This is basically a controller card disk which is capable of supporting one or more configurations. It was originally meant only for the SCSI drives, but the RAID Controllers just became really popular for both the SATA and PATA drives

What are RAID Controllers

It is technically a device that manages the physical disk drives, and then thereby presents them to the computer in such a form as of logical units. Yet in most cases, implements hardware, thus it is sometimes referred to as RAID controller. It also often useful in that it provides the additional disk cache. The  controller is capable of offering a level of notion between the operating system as well as the physical computer drives. The RAID controller provides groups of the various applications and the operating systems, as logical units for which the data protection schemes can then be defined. Since the controller is capable of accessing multiple copies of various data on multiple devices, it is therefore capable of improving performance and can protect data in the event that a system crash occurs.

In the Hardware-Based RAID, physical controllers is used in managing the RAID arrangement. The controller can also take various forms such as a PCI or PCI Express card that is designed to support only a specific drive format like SATA. However, some of the RAID controllers could also be integrated with motherboards. The controller may also be software-purely, thereby using the hardware resources belonging to the host system. The Software-based RAID generally gives similar functionality as to that which is hardware-based RAID, but typically less in performance than of the hardware versions.

RAID Controller Failure Causes and Remedies

RAID controller failures may occur due to a variety of reasons. Normally a technician would assume that one of the drives has failed.  It is a very common diagnosis for RAID controller failures as the diagnostic lights on the drives may be blinking, gone orange, or as may be in some cases the drive may not be spinning.  These surface indicators would definitely lead the technician to assume that the drives have either failed or are on their way out.  There is, however, another reason why all these things might occur, and that would definitely be a RAID controller failure.  The challenge is to be able to diagnose the problem with a damaged controller.

However, despite the advantages offered by the RAID arrays, there are certain disadvantages as well, e.g. should the RAID controller fail, it will become very hard or even in some cases not possible to continue making use of the RAID array in the original arrangement. In various cases, the user data and files end up becoming inaccessible with no original or a well-suited RAID controller required.

In the event that your RAID controller does fail and you need access to your data, you need to consider making use of a dedicated RAID recovery device to be able to recover data and files from the inaccessible array and putting all the recovered files onto one hard disk.