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Case Study

U.S. Air Force

Device Type:
RAID 0 Server

Turn Around:
7 Business Days *

Systems Administrator

Shaw, South Carolina

U.S. Air Force 12-Drive RAID 0 Server — Recovered!

When a backup procedure failed, it jeopardized access to every file on the U.S. Air Forces’ 12-drive RAID 0 server—information that Congress mandates to be kept in perpetuity.


Shaw AFB in South Carolina, Civil Engineering Squadron’s system administrator, Dean Johnson, keeps 350 users’ computers running smoothly. But, when the backup procedure failed, it jeopardized access to every file on the squad’s 12-drive RAID server.

The crash happened in stages, and Johnson initially believed he could solve the problem himself. But, when the RAID system controller failed, he stopped his recovery efforts. New backups had already begun to replace older ones and three-quarters of the new files weren’t backed up at all. At the risk of permanent loss were archives for the base housing office—information that Congress mandates to be kept in perpetuity. Vital training data, including fire safety and flight readiness records, were also gone. – After receiving a recommendation from the manufacturer of the device, Johnson contacted DriveSavers.

If the data wasn’t recovered we would have been illegal in the eyes of our major command. And eventually, it could have gone up to Washington D.C.
– Dean Johnson, Air Force Systems Administrator


The system was described to DriveSavers engineers as a RAID 5 array, which would have allowed rebuilding of the system using data stored on a spare drive. However, when the DriveSavers engineers analyzed the drives in DriveSavers Certified ISO Class 5 Cleanroom, they discovered it was actually configured as RAID 0 with data striped across all 12 drives.

This presented a more difficult challenge as the drives were mixed up in an unknown order; not as they were physically arranged in Johnson’s original setup. When DriveSavers engineers finally unraveled the brainteaser, they recovered a full 45 GB of the most-wanted data.


DriveSavers provides unparalleled RAID recovery services and digital forensic services for all RAID devices and configurations.

For over 35 years, DriveSavers has securely recovered critical data for government agencies such as Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Center and The Smithsonian Institution. Only DriveSavers posts proof of our company-wide, annual SOC 2 Type II security audit. SOC 2 Type II is the most stringent and extensive security audit administered.

Technical alliances with RAID controller manufacturers have enabled our engineers to develop proprietary techniques, tools and technologies that aid in data recovery from RAID devices based on solid-state drives (SSDs), hard disk drives (HDDs), and more complex hybrid and tiered storage environments. All major RAID manufacturers authorize our data recovery services so working with DriveSavers will not void your original warranty.

*DriveSavers Standard Turnaround times are 1-2 Business days, Economy 5-7 Business days, and Priority 24/7 service – on occasion, unique substances require more time and are approved by the customer.


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