Recovering the files from damaged and faulty RAID storage devices is something we’ve been doing for the best part of 20 years. There is no question that RAID recovery is one of the most highly complex skills in data recovery: once the disk problems have been solved, it’s necessary to piece the information held on the drives back together again into coherent files and folders.
Typical RAID faults we specialise in recovering data from –
- Drive(s) not booting / missing files
- Clicking drives
- RAID controller failure
- Damaged data striping
- Corrupt partition table
- RAID device not starting
- Inaccessible boot device
- Multiple hard disk failure
- Accidental deletion of partition data
- Component failure
Why Is RAID Data Recovery So Complex ?
RAID is an acronym for a “Redundant Array of Independent Disks” and one of the reasons RAID data recovery is so specialised is due to the way the data is stored across the multiple disks that make up the RAID: files are not simply stored on one disk, instead they are split into sections and these sections are then distributed across all the drives in the RAID set.
So, for example, if you have an 8 disk RAID 5 server, your data will be split across 8 disks. Additional information known as parity data is also recorded on the disks – this is used by the server to keep track of all the information it holds and also allows it to recover should one of the disks that make up the array become faulty and go offline.
So a RAID 5 that has one faulty hard disk is no big deal as the server can continue to work correctly, however the server will run in a degraded mode, data access will be slow, and the faulty disk will need to replaced ASAP. However if 2 or more hard drives in the server fail, the data it holds will become inaccessible and a RAID data recovery company will be needed to recover the server data.
Another additional but important consideration is that often, server and NAS devices will store data to the hard disk drives in slightly different ways, for example, HP servers write the data to disk using an offset value, something that Dell, IBM and most NAS manufacturers don’t do. One size does not fit all, so it’s of paramount importance to ensure the company you choose to work on your crashed system know what they are doing.
Inside the chassis, servers are much the same. It makes no difference if a server is manufactured by Dell, HP, IBM, COMPAQ or is a custom built system, a SAN server or a Network Attached Storage Device. They will nearly always be running Microsoft Windows Server or some form of Linux, support MySQL and Exchange databases and typically use RAID 5.
As I mentioned above, I’ve been recovering data from all types of RAID system for almost 15 years now and have a large amount of knowledge and experience at my disposal. The chances are that I’ve seen your system and the problem before and know how to recover the data. Additionally, I don’t charge for a phone consultation so by all means, give me call and tell me about your faulty system.
I strongly advise that you steer clear of using IT support companies to assist in rebuilding your broken server and retrieving its data. My experience is that most IT support companies, including Dell Server Support and HP Server Support, are fine dealing with with everyday ‘helpdesk’ type issues, but out of their depth when faced with complex areas of RAID data recovery, and have many times, recommended the wrong course of action that leads to permanent data loss.