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Case Study: U.S. Airport SAN Data Recovery

Case Study: Accidental Deletion of a 'Snap Clone' From a Storage Area Network (SAN)

U.S. Airport

Recovery Type:
SAN and VMware

The case study highlights the accidental deletion of a “Snap Clone” from a Storage Area Network (SAN) at a U.S. airport, leading to significant data loss across multiple virtual machines and storage volumes. The Director of Information and Communication Technologies chose DriveSavers, recognizing their high security standards and outstanding track record for the crucial data recovery task.

Data Loss Situation

A routine maintenance operation led to the deletion of essential data stored on a 16-disk HPE Nimble Storage array, an enterprise SAN storage system with built-in features that make it flexible and robust. Features of the Nimble system include data reduction and deduplication, thin provisioning, and LUN snapshots, which add several layers of abstraction between the drives and the user data. These attributes also lead to a complex data recovery scenario.

This unique array consisted of 16 x 1.8TB drives using Nimble’s proprietary Triple+ RAID algorithm. The system contained several LUNs presented to VMware ESX hosts running a multitude of virtual machines, primarily Windows machines with NTFS-formatted virtual disks. The data loss had the potential to affect hundreds of users at the airport.

Data Recovery Solution

The recovery process was spearheaded by a team of DriveSavers engineers specializing in data recovery from complex storage systems. The team used a sophisticated approach, engaging in logical recovery efforts and developing advanced tools to access and extract the lost data structures.

As is usually the case when recovering deleted data, a small amount of overwritten damage was detected, which resulted in some structural damage that propagated through the many layers of the storage stack. Even with this damage, the DriveSavers engineering team successfully recovered the critical files, over 4.8TB.

The expertise and dedication of the recovery team were evident throughout the process. We are incredibly relieved and grateful to have our critical data back. The professionalism and results delivered by the team have exceeded our expectations. –Airport Director of Information
and Communication Technologies


The data restoration project for an HPE Nimble Storage array belonging to a U.S. airport was an intricate task that demanded a mix of specialized knowledge, proprietary cutting-edge tools, custom development, and teamwork. The achievement of recovering and repairing missing data from such a highly complex system emphasizes the significance of partnering with a highly-skilled data recovery service adept at navigating difficult data loss scenarios and inventing solutions and methods in the absence of pre-existing ones.

DriveSavers is that partner.

DriveSavers Senior Marketing Manager
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