RAID Data Recovery – How It Works

April 3, 2018

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RAID data recovery is probably one of the most complex processes any data recovery firm can perform. More often than not, the problems are compounded by the actions of the client prior to sending the drives in for recovery. Many users feel that it is important to try and recover the data themselves or repair the array through various system utilities, and this may be fine if the data is not critical. However, it has been our experience that when you have a RAID failure that has resolved in substantial data loss, more often than not, somebody's job is on the line if that data is not recovered. The largest piece of advise this article can provide in the event of a RAID failure: LEAVE IT ALONE.

IT professionals have a lot of pressure placed on them when a catastrophic system failure occurs. It is their job to make sure that all systems are up and running. Many times, out of panic, troubleshooting processes are initiated in order to correct the problem. Often times these processes only make a bad situation even worse, and in many instances they can render the data unrecoverable. Let's keep in mind what this data can consist of in an average corporate environment. You are probably dealing with information that cost many hundreds of thousands of dollars in labor and resources to create. Much of the data probably can not be duplicated. The intellectual value alone could have been in the many millions of dollars. Corporate executives really do not care to hear about how the failure occurred, or what unbelievable string of events led up to the server crashing. They do not care to hear the technical jargon as you try to explain to them what happened, and hope they understand that it was not your fault. They only want to know one thing … "Why was this data not backed up, and how can we get it back?"

Instead of taking chances on your own, call a data recovery professional. RAID data recovery can be expensive, but in most cases it is much less costly than trying to recreate the data that has been lost. There is a set procedure that most data recovery professionals follow when it comes to performing any recovery work. These procedures are followed and expanded upon when dealing with a RAID recovery. The first step of any RAID recovery is to make sure all of the drives are functional. In order to properly complete the recovery it is essential that all drives are fully functional (this is especially true with a RAID 0). This may involve taking any physically damaged drives into the clean room, in order to make the necessary repairs so that they function normally again. Once that is completed the next step is to make complete, sector-by-sector clones of every drive. This is not "Ghosting", but a very low-level process that allows the recovery technician to work around bad sectors, and have complete control over how the drive functions. During the cloning process, the original source drive that you sent in, is generally put in a "write protect" mode so that no data can be written to the drive. This insures that the original source data is not altered in any way.

Once the cloning process is complete, the original drives you sent in are set off to the side and are no longer touched. The actual recovery process is performed on the cloned copies, so nothing that is done during recovery can make the situation worse. After the drives are cloned, they will be loaded into an emmulator and destriped. Destriping is like taking the scattered pieces of a puzzle and putting them together neatly. Simply stated, destriping is taking the data scattered among the multiple drives that make up array and placing it onto a single destination drive. From there we have a single drive in which we can complete what we would consider to be a "normal" recovery. We can complete this process even at the multi-terrabyte level. If the damage to the stripe is not too severe, in most cases a complete rebuild of the directory structure and all associated data can be completed.

As mentioned earlier, RAID data recovery can be expensive. Depending on the company you contact the prices can vary considerably. Typically a RAID recovery can be priced anywhere from $ 800 to $ 3,000 per drive. A number of factors influence the cost, such as RAID type, file system, total size, situation of failure, etc. Many times attempt fees and assessment fees are charged if the data is unrecoverable. This is understandable due to the amount of time and resources required to perform a single RAID recovery. However, in most cases the costs involved in recovering the data are not even 1% of the data's overall value. If you are reading this article and you have not suffered a RAID failure, what are you waiting for? Back up your data NOW.

29 Comments

  • DIY Tech April 3, 2018 at 7:03 pm

    WOW just wow

  • yerra naveen April 3, 2018 at 7:03 pm

    What is that software

  • Mohan Krishna April 3, 2018 at 7:03 pm

    what was that erkin changing number 1-8 after that 1

  • Michael Moran April 3, 2018 at 7:03 pm

    Just watched this 2nd video, I posted on another one I found on youtube a few mins ago.. I see that you have a nice lab setup. I was wondering, do you work for a company or did you start this as a business for yourself? If your business, I was wondering about the lab equipment you use. I am assuming that the equipment is not something you can find on amazon or ebay…. I like what you do…. how much actual space do you need to setup a lab environment like this and is it a clean room or no. thanks

  • SADDA ADDA April 3, 2018 at 7:03 pm

    I m from india my micro SD card is little cracked and data is more important for me so plz tell m what i do

  • MRFUCKOFF202 April 3, 2018 at 7:03 pm

    My USB stick was "not recognised" by windows. I opened it up to look for damage which required cutting off the plastic casing which I perhaps stupidly did with a pen knife. It has a black thing on it (the biggest of three black things, therefore I assume it's the memory chip) and I scratched a couple of the pins with a knife. Is there anything that can be done in that case? I thought a bit of solder could reconnect it but it's so bloody small.

  • GreenPawWolf April 3, 2018 at 7:03 pm

    how do i recover stuff from a broken ipod?

  • Juan Gonzalez April 3, 2018 at 7:03 pm

    Hi!!! I used ShadowExplorer software to recover a 19GB file from a Toshiba A100 SSD. In the middle of the process it gave an error of copy and suddenly the software closed itself. Now I open again and all the shadow copies of windows like 5 or 6 were gone!!! Now… is there any trick or fix or software in order to recover this shadow copies of Windows?? Does it happen to anyone of you
    Thanks in advance!!!

  • Michel Mst April 3, 2018 at 7:03 pm

    Hey man I'm from Brazil and I so interested to learn about that work, do you have some course or instructions or some way that you indicate to all of us learn about that work? , Thanks and congratulations for your job.

  • Mario Quevillon April 3, 2018 at 7:03 pm

    DOOM! 🙂

  • Cereal Tech April 3, 2018 at 7:03 pm

    Oh my god thank you, my memes for 4chan are safe now..

  • Maarten Kooij April 3, 2018 at 7:03 pm

    have you ever seen a damaged disk like this? https://ibb.co/kFV4rG (and erevee tried to recover it?)

  • Armant Vogli April 3, 2018 at 7:03 pm

    Which version of R-Studio do you suggest?

  • Mike Opitz April 3, 2018 at 7:03 pm

    again,. great work – can you focus a couple of videos more on the software side of things? we have seen a lot of disassemble>heat table>clean>put chip in thing> – would just like to see more software trouble shooting as well!

  • DestroyerJ69 G4L April 3, 2018 at 7:03 pm

    Hi 💐

  • Emmanuel RILLE April 3, 2018 at 7:03 pm

    Hi, Amazing work ! I would love to see a video with the description of your tools and workspace 🙂

  • Manuel Arribas Alvarez April 3, 2018 at 7:03 pm

    Genial, eres magnifico. Es un placer ver tus videos
    Saludos desde España

  • Logarytms April 3, 2018 at 7:03 pm

    Great t shirt from Doom ^^

  • AROVA Computer Services April 3, 2018 at 7:03 pm

    Clean work as usual and that Doom T looks sick! any sugestions on a "Entry Level/Starters" Microscope?

  • Elysion April 3, 2018 at 7:03 pm

    Was wondering if it ever happend to you that there was something illegal on a Stick. And what do you do then ?

  • Josh Straughn April 3, 2018 at 7:03 pm

    Don't forget to renew your license next month on that software 🙂

  • buildstoys April 3, 2018 at 7:03 pm

    Why is it that this chip you pulled off and put in your reader, yet the last video you had to swap the chip/controller onto a donor drive? Was it because the previous video had memory that was XOR?

  • Metalhead777 April 3, 2018 at 7:03 pm

    Nice work! I like seeing those chips clean again.

  • Finn Driver April 3, 2018 at 7:03 pm

    Are the 'BBS' stickers behind you on the cabinet for a bulletin board system or am I being stupid?
    Love the videos by the way!

  • Алексей Рукин April 3, 2018 at 7:03 pm

    DOOM! amazing…

  • Marco Genio April 3, 2018 at 7:03 pm

    Omg this is amazing keep it up sir

  • Franklin James April 3, 2018 at 7:03 pm

    Could you possibly try recovering the data off of a mobile phone, such as an iPhone or Android phone?

  • rs agarwaen April 3, 2018 at 7:03 pm

    is there any limit your chip reader,how large chips it can read?

  • Open Your Mind April 3, 2018 at 7:03 pm

    i'm a UK PC repair technician, have you any video's on ssd drives? can't see any on your channel. Top Work BTW

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