Everything You Need to Know About RAID Data Recovery

One of the common methods of storing data involves a RAID system. The term RAID is an acronym for redundant array of independent disks. It was first designed in 1987 and is now used to refer to any method of data storage that separates and duplicates information among a series of disk drives.

RAID technology improves the reliability of your data storage by creating a network of disk drives on which your data is stored. That way, if one drive fails, your data is still protected, since it is stored on another drive in the array. This redundancy is in place to protect you against loss of your information. The likelihood that each drive in your array will fail simultaneously is quite small. As an added benefit, RAID data systems increase the speed and availability of your data.

Despite the relative safety of RAID data storage, the system can sometimes fail due to a number of problems such as:

 

  • Computer viruses
  • Power surges
  • Physical damage, such as fire, water or impact damage
  • Controller failure: Most RAID systems have multiple drives but only one controller. If the controller goes, so does the whole array
  • Multiple drive failure: It doesn’t happen very often, but since the drives in your system all experience about the same amount of working stress, once one drive fails, the other or others may not be far behind
  • Loss of or incorrect configuration of the drives
  • Reformatting problems
  • Occasional failure of one or more of the drives, which can cause deterioration in the RAID array over time

 

When a RAID failure happens it can have a catastrophic effect on your business. It goes without saying that the best defence against RAID data failure is to regularly back up your system. The relative safety of a RAID array can give you a false sense of security in the safety of your data, making you feel that backups aren’t needed – but this lack of forethought can spell disaster.

If and when disaster strikes, you have two options. You can purchase RAID data recovery software and have it installed prior to experiencing any problems. These data recovery programs can access your drives, assess and possibly repair the potential problem, provided that you don’t have a physical problems with array.

More likely, you will need to use a RAID array repair to diagnose and repair your array after your data is lost to try to recover your lost data. From a technical standpoint, RAID data recovery is one of the most difficult forms of data recovery.

There are a few things that you can do to protect yourself from the danger of losing your data due to a RAID array failure:

 

  • Back up your data regularly
  • Document your array configuration during the original set up, including the physical setup and order of connection
  • Test your system’s ability to recover from drive failure (only after making sure all your data is backed up!)
  • Immediately replace a hard drive when it fails, making sure that the replacement has been pre-tested and fully conforms to your system specifications
  • If your RAID has a corrupted file system, don’t attempt to rebuild it as this will corrupt your data even further
  • Never ignore a RAID fault warning or any abnormal sounds or system behaviour. This can lead to you running your hard drive in a degraded mode, leaving you with no other options if a second drive in the array fails
  • If more than one drive has a fault, there is nothing more you can do to recover your data on your own; you need to call a professional data recovery firm
  • Don’t keep trying different things to retrieve your data. Often this only succeeds in making things worse and lessening the likelihood that you will get your data back. Call a professional and get it fixed as soon as possible.

 

As with many things in life, a little preparation goes a long way in saving and protecting your data. RAID systems rarely fail, but when they do, the results can be devastating to you and your business. Make sure your system is set up properly, take measures to keep it safe and fix any individual drive failures as soon as they become apparent.

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