By Mike Cobb, DriveSavers Director of Engineering
Critical data is often stored on RAID systems because the configurations are considered to be fault tolerant. For example, RAID systems can be configured to keep working when one drive fails, allowing disks to be hot swapped while the system keeps running. However, even this setup of an array of drives is not infallible. It can only offset the failure of a single drive and does not protect against multiple drive failures, which occur more frequently than most people are aware.
It’s important to remember that RAID systems are susceptible to the same problems that plague single hard drives, as well as more complex problems, such as lost server registry configurations, accidental RAID drive reconfigurations, RAID controller failures and multiple drive failures.
RAID systems are “fault tolerant” not “fault proof.” Here are some tips for handling a RAID failure properly to avoid further loss or damage and optimize the best conditions for RAID data recovery:
The best chance for retrieving critical data is the first try—so sending the RAID to a professional data recovery provider will protect the original data. In this scenario, the less you do, the better.
Don’t Rebuild the RAID
This could overwrite the data set on the RAID controller, which tells it how to view the drive array, making it more difficult (or impossible) to find and restore lost files.
Don’t Remove the Drives
Preserving the original order of the RAID array reduces the chance of overwriting critical data by mistake. If you must remove the drives, carefully label their sequence before doing so.
Don’t Run Repair Utilities
Utilities can change the original data, destroying opportunities to retrieve it with another recovery technique.
Don’t Reinitialize or Format
The process could overwrite the catalog and data pointers, effectively erasing the critical data.
Don’t Restore from Unconfirmed Backups
If the backup doesn’t hold the data you think it holds, you run the risk of overwriting the RAID array with the wrong data.
Our data recovery advisors answer the phones 24/7. Call 800.440.1904 anytime for help recovering data on your failed RAID hard drive.