Twelve virtual machines running on an enterprise class SAN with multiple redundant layers should not have gone down – but did
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – RSA CONFERENCE & EXPO 2013 (Booth #451) – February 26, 2013 – DriveSavers Data Recovery was selected to perform a data recovery on the centralized storage system for an entire state school district’s system. The system was only four years old and huge—twelve virtual machines stored on fourteen RAID 5 systems running ESX 4 servers clustered in a SAN storage environment that distributed all the school district’s data across 70 hard disk drives. Another data recovery company attempted to recover the system’s data and claimed it was not possible. Although there was residual corruption, DriveSavers was able to recover the bulk of the data and save the school district from the catastrophic failure.
“Virtualization is a boon to organizations who want to increase their storage efficiency and agility,” said Trea Kines, senior enterprise recovery engineer at DriveSavers Data Recovery. “But storing all your data in one location leaves it extremely vulnerable if you are not prepared for system failure, data loss and the need for data recovery. Our engineers at DriveSavers are experts in analyzing, understanding and resolving complex data loss issues that can occur in virtualized data storage environments.”
The school district’s enterprise system lost six of its enterprise drives in staggered failures during a power surge, and there was a hardware replacement of a problematic switch. Normally, this failure would be sustainable in a degraded state but there were additional complications. Two failed drives were located in the same RAID 5, corrupting the metadata, causing a cascading effect. The SAN was down. Every school in the district was down. No student data. No administrative files. No payroll records. Students couldn’t access term papers. Teachers could not be paid. This data loss had wiped out everything.
The 70 drives were shipped to DriveSavers in two large crates. Before starting the recovery on the layer of virtual machines, the physical drive failures first had to be resolved in the company’s Certified ISO Class 5 Cleanroom. Then all drives had to be imaged to healthy drives, the corrupted data on the SAN network had to be restored and the RAID arrays rebuilt. No small feat considering that these arrays use their own special algorithms to store the data randomly across the drives. After significant engineering effort, the SAN was up, the cluster rebuilt and twelve individual recoveries were performed to verify the data on each of the virtual machines. The school district’s data was safely recovered, and the administration and schools were able to get back to business again.
Kines states, “The recovery was as complex as it gets. So much was on the line and security was top of mind, considering the data held confidential student and employee information. To add to everything else, the original manufacturer had embedded a proprietary file system into the virtual machines. Our proprietary recovery methods and tools and technology alliances with VMware and other leading storage manufacturers contributed to our ability to recover the data from this enormous system quickly and securely.”
DriveSavers leads the field in recovering data from virtual infrastructures, servers, file systems and workstations. DriveSavers develops proprietary technology and tools to overcome unique, one-of-a-kind data loss scenarios from virtual machines. DriveSavers is also a member of the VMware Technology Alliance Partner (TAP) program.
To learn more about DriveSavers Data Recovery services, please visit our website or call 800.440.1904.
About DriveSavers Data Recovery
DriveSavers Data Recovery, the worldwide leader in data recovery, provides the fastest, most reliable and only certified secure data recovery service in the industry. All of the company’s services meet security protocols for financial, legal, corporate and healthcare industries and it is the only company that posts proof of its annual SOC 2 Type II audit report and HIPAA data security and privacy compliance. DriveSavers Data Recovery adheres to U.S. Government security protocols, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act Data Security Rule (GLBA), the Data at Rest mandate (DAR) and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX). DriveSavers Data Recovery engineers are trained and certified in all leading encryption and forensic technologies and operate a Certified ISO Class 5 Cleanroom. Satisfied customers include: Bank of America, Google, Lucasfilm, NASA, Harvard University, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, US Army and Sandia National Laboratories.