RAID Recovery

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The standard RAID levels are a basic set of RAID configurations that employ the techniques of stripingmirroring, or parity to create large reliable data stores from general purpose computer hard disk drives. The most common types today are RAID 0 (striping), RAID 1 and variants (mirroring), RAID 5 (distributed parity) and RAID 6 (dual parity). RAID levels and their associated data formats are standardized by the Storage Networking Industry Association in the Common RAID Disk Drive Format (DDF) standard.

Examples of Data Loss Situations on RAID / SAN / NAS

Naturally, the individual media in Servers suffer from the same failure points as do drives in personal computers and workstations.

The increased complexity of many server operating systems results in additional loss situations:

  • RAID Controller failure
  • Server registry configuration lost
  • Intermittent drive failure resulting in configuration corruption
  • Accidental reconfiguration of RAID drives
  • Multiple drive failure
  • Accidental replacement of media components

The Recovery Process

At the Sherlock Data Recovery Services facility, our lab technicians treat Server and RAID loss situations as high priority cases. An initial diagnosis determines whether each media device is accessible to our lab equipment. If so, the first priority is to create a raw image of all data from accessible media onto the Sherlock Data Recovery Services media, so that logical analysis can determine the nature of the data loss situation.

If some of the media is inaccessible, our lab will test the components and closely examine its internal health to determine the extent of physical damage.

Recovery of crashed hard disks often involves replacing failed or damaged components in a clean environment, and using specialized hardware and software tools to create the raw image. Failed components typically include electronics, read/write heads, head assemblies, magnets & drive motors.

Technicians must determine both the exact layout of volumes, which span or are striped across multiple drives, and what fixes of the filesystem structures are needed to get access to the important data.

Multiple-drive servers are typically ‘destriped’ onto Sherlock Data Recovery Services media so that filesystem repairs can be performed and the data files can be extracted. Sometimes the existing filesystem structures are missing or damaged, so much that data has to be extracted directly from one or more fragments of the destriped image.

Sherlock Data Recovery Services facility programmers have created a full set of software tools used by our technicians to analyze, destripe, fix, and recover data from raw image drives on all operating systems. Once a recovery has been successfully performed, file lists are created and data validity is checked.

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Turn-Around Time for Data Recovery of Raid /NAS / SAN

Sherlock Data Recovery Services has geared its entire service to recover your data as fast as possible. When dealing with such a wide variety of problems, estimating time before the problem is diagnosed can be difficult. That is why each recovery case starts with an evaluation.

The evaluation begins immediately on receipt of the media. Generally, it takes us 2 to 24 hours to complete it. The process involves several hours of work and testing. (Mirroring alone may take up to 24 hours of computer time with extensive re-tries for badly damaged devices).

Complete turn-around time, including analysis and recovery, is usually between 1 to 5 days. Some severe cases can take considerably more time.

Our hours of operation are 9am to 7pm EST Monday to Saturday (All facilities). If you have an emergency situation, we have technical staff on call for weekends and after hours in all locations.

Time estimates are based on procedures and expertise required to recover the data you need. You are not charged by the hour. A firm quote is provided for your approval following the evaluation.

Brands, Models and Interfaces

Workgroup, Departmental & Enterprise servers from all manufacturers including IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Compaq, Dell, Sun and NEC.

Standalone and rack-mounted RAID arrays using SCSI, Fibre Channel or IDE drives from all manufacturers including EMC, IBM, Compaq, Hewlett-Packard and Hitachi.

Network Attached Storage devices such as Iomega NAS P400 series, Quantum Snap! Server, Maxtor MaxAttach, NSS uStor and HP / Compaq TaskSmart and SureStore devices.

Operating Systems and File Systems

Intel Platforms
Windows XP Professional and Home with NTFS, FAT32 or FAT16 filesystems using dynamic spanned, striped or fault-tolerant (RAID) volumes.
Windows 2000 Professional and Server with NTFS, FAT32 or FAT16 filesystems using dynamic spanned, striped or fault-tolerant (RAID) volumes.
Windows NT Workstation and Server with NTFS or FAT16 filesystems using standalone, spanned, striped or fault-tolerant (RAID) volumes.
Windows ME, 98 / 95 with FAT32 or FAT16 filesystems.
MS-DOS and variants using 12 or 16 bit FAT filesystems.
Compressed volume managers including Stacker, DoubleSpace & DriveSpace.
OS/2 with FAT and HPFS filesystems.
Novell NetWare with FAT and NSS filesystems using standalone, spanned, striped or fault-tolerant (RAID) volumes.
Unix Operating systems including:
SCO OpenServer and Xenix,
UnixWare from Novell and SCO,
Linux with ext2fs, xfs, reiserfs & jfs filesystems on standalone & RAID volumes,
BSD-based systems such as FreeBSD, OpenBSD and NetBSD, BSDI,

Non-Intel Platforms
Apple Macintosh
OS 9 with HFS and HFS+ filesystems,
OS X with HFS, HFS+ and Unix ufs filesystems
All Macintosh hardware using SCSI, IDE & Firewire interfaces, including software RAID drivers such as SoftRaid & FWB Raid.
Unix Systems including:
Solaris on Sun/SPARC equipment, with ufs and Veritas VxFS filesystems
HPUX on Hewlett-Packard workstations with hfs and Veritas VxFS filesytems on standalone and LVMvolumes,
IRIX on SGI workstations with efs and xfs filesystems,
VMS & OpenVMS running on Compaq & DEC equipment using ODS filesystems,
AIX on IBM RS/6000 with jfs filesystems on LVM volumes.

Preserving your Warranty

Sherlock Data Recovery Services has established agreements with most manufacturers regarding preserving warranty during data recovery service. Please inquire whether or not your manufacturer is included in this agreement.

If the seals on a media must be broken in order to extract data, Sherlock Data Recovery Services will re-seal the media upon completion of service with a tamper resistant sticker, which the manufacturer will accept for warranty purposes. You will also receive an invoice receipt to indicate you have pursued data recovery services with Sherlock Data Recovery Services.

When in doubt, inquire with the manufacturer about keeping your warranty before pursuing data recovery.