RAID Data Recovery

Data RecoveryRAID Data Recovery


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RAID Data Recovery 

Rackmount or Compact;  RAID 5 RAID 6 RAID 10 etc.,

Performance HDD + SSD Hybrid specialists.

RAID data recovery

RAID  Emergency Rapid  Response Team:

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RAID Data Recovery.

Our RAID Data Recovery Team is available during normal working hours and evenings and are on call ready to assist with your crashed or faulty RAID server system.  Since 2002 our team of experts has assisted many hundreds of businesses to rebuild and recover data from their failed RAID Server systems, NAS, DAS and SAN storage facilities.. SSD and HDD Hybrid Rack Mount and out of the box Compact RAID system specialists.

  • Dell PowerEdge Series
  • IBM Power Servers
  • All Rack Mount Servers
  • Super micro
  • Storinator

RAID Recovery Emergency Technical Support Team.

Once you contact our help line you will be passed on to our Emergency RAID System Technical Support Team.  The team will establish the nature of  your system failure and agree a way forward  that militates against system damage and they will also provide you with an  estimate of recovery costs and timescales. Once the estimate is agreed they get cracking arranging logistics, equipment parts ordering, data storage media procurement,  work scheduling and customer support.

RAID Support Centre

COURIER Collect or  Drop-in at our Raid Support Centre.   A registered  company since 2002 we are certificated with the Information Commissioners Office.  Specific Non Disclosure Agreements available. Your data is processed in a safe and secure environment by qualified and experienced data recovery technicians.  Our  RAID System recovery success rates are second to none !

Professional Technical Support

0800 008 6638

24 X 7

RAID Rebuild and Recovery

Our RAID recovery processes allow a system rebuild without compromising your stored data. Once rebuilt we recover your data and produce a file listing of all your data.  Once verified we will then transfer it to  alternative storage media ready for you to  restore.

RAID  Data Recovery Process

  • Hard Drive Removal

    All Drives Labelled + Packed for Shipping

  • Faulty Volumes Replaced

    All faulty Hard Drives Repaired.

  • ALL Volumes Duplicated

    RAID System Rebuilt From Clones

  • System Structures Analysed

    Logical RAID Structures, Repaired & Rebuilt.

  • File Systems Updated

    File Systems repaired on  System Clone,

  • Data Xfer To New Media

    Data Xfer  to new storage media

RAID  Data Recovery Service

  • Immediate Technical Support

    Technical Consultation and Support

  • Cost Estimate

    Telephone Evaluation and Quotation

  • Express Collection

    P-P  Courier Collection.

  • Eval + Firm Quote

    Evaluation Report + Firm Quotation.

  • Recovered File Listings

    Where possible file list created for approval.

  • Data Extraction + Transfer

    Data is transferred to safe media and shipped.

RAID System Diagnosis.

Our RAID system diagnosis will  pin point and correct any underlying fault conditions that have caused your system failure.  Typically hard drive faults such as bad sectors or controller card electrical component failures are identified and resolved.

File System Recovery.

Having corrected the physical elements of the system our technicians will duplicate (clone) each hard drive and attempt to reconstruct your damaged File System (without compromising your original data.) in order to facilitate access to your data files.

File Listing and  Data Integrity.

The next step is for our technicians to  produce a list of available files and folders and also a statement of their condition ready for you to review.

Data and System Restore.

Once you have agreed the veracity of the available system data  our technicians will recover your data to new storage media and make arrangements for its return.  Restoration may  involve cooperation between our technical support team and your IT support team to ensure data is accessible to the end user.

TIPS Dealing With A Crashed RAID System

RAID Configured Systems fail due to a loss of power, failing hard drive/s environmental failure and a variety of other reasons .  Whatever the reason for a RAID failure, it is important to know how to respond in a data loss crisis.

  • Don’t panic
    The first rule of any data loss situation is not to panic. Panicking leads to poor decision-making and knee-jerk responses. The fact is that it is possible to fully or at least partly reconstruct the data in the majority of data loss situations as long as the correct approach is adopted.
  • Do NOT use checking software on the array, (e.g. Scandisk / Chkdsk etc)
    These utilities deal with file system errors. However, some underlying storage media problems can create file system errors as symptoms. The operating system will run a utility to fix the file system errors and, in doing so, can damage or fragment previously retrievable data.
    Earlier Windows operating systems offered users the choice whether to initiate these utilities, but more recent versions will run them as background when the computer is shut down incorrectly. You can abort the utility by watching the boot process and pressing ESC to cancel it within ten seconds. The important files should then be copied to another type of media.
  • Don’t change the disk order
    It is extremely important not to change the disk order in an array. If the order has been changed, a professional data recovery company should be contacted. It should not be necessary to remove a disk from an array, but if a disk or disks have been removed, it is crucial that they are replaced in the same order.
  • Don’t continue to run the system
    The RAID BIOS may report that one or more of the constituent hard drives are faulty. This may be because of a physical problem with the hard drive or a configuration problem.
  • Don’t reconfigure the array
    If there is a problem with the configuration, it’s crucial that the RAID is re-configured correctly. Incorrectly configuring the RAID will often make the data unrecoverable.
  • Do not attempt to rebuild the RAID
    Under no circumstances attempt to rebuild the RAID. This could result in wide-scale data loss.

If you have any of the above problems and are unsure how to proceed, it is vital to contact a data recovery company for help. Any reputable company should be able to immediately understand the problem and offer advice and assistance.

Engaging a RAID Data Recovery Provider.

  1. Place a value on your data and consider fully the consequences of losing your business or critical data.
  2. Estimate the true cost of replicating the non accessible data and how long will data entry take.
  3. Assess who will be affected yourself, your accountant, your customers, your family etc.
  4. Select an established Data Recovery service with experienced technical support staff and a well organised customer services operation. Carefully take note of some the following information if it’s applicable.
  5. Stripe block size (normally a multiple factor of 8K) and order of disk elements in which the RAID volume is formed. Such info can normally be found in the RAID BIOS or RAID configuration Manager.
  6. Description of problems
  7. Description of user’s attempt
  8. List of critical data and folders and any special requirements
  9. Label each disk before taking them out and carefully note the corresponding position.
  10. Carefully pack your system for delivery to your chosen data recovery expert.

Typical RAID Failure Problems:

RAID System Hard Drive Drive Failures

A RAID array is essentially a number of hard drives across which data is stored or replicated for the purpose of improving system performance, security or a combination of both. RAID arrays are usually configured and managed as a part of a maintenance regime either automatic or manual that militates against the possibility of data loss. The greatest risks to the data stored on a RAID array are hard disk drive failure, malware attack or poor maintenance procedures.

RAID System Single Drive Failure.

Do you have a single RAID hard drive failure, or a multiple hard drive failure. A single hard drive failure is entirely self repairable however the RAID may remain operating in a degraded mode. Most RAID  manufacturers provide  a utility that will  quickly add a new hard drive to the disk array and  restore your RAID configuration to its original state and function as normal.

Following the failure of a hard drive within the RAID Array, the system may still be accessible however its subsequent operation without fault tolerance or redundancy means it remains vulnerable to a catastrophic system failure. In this case all current data should be backed up before any rebuild is attempted.  It is also probable that the contemporary hard drives making up the RAID volume are now at consequential risk of failure.

You should also be aware that a RAID rebuild process is generally IO intensive and can put a greater workload on potentially problematic hard disks within the volume/s. Under these circumstances a re-configuration of applications may not be wise i.e. if your rebuild fails you may end up with more failed hard disk drives than you bargained for.

RAID Hard Drive Replacement

For many arrays a drive that is accumulating errors will be forced out of service and its data reconstructed across the remaining good drives available to the array controller.

In this case the data on the failing hard drive must be rebuilt from the parity data on the remaining active drives and written to the standby drive  Post-failure replacement takes considerably longer due to the calculations that must take place in order to rebuild the data. To militate against the risk of drive failures, you should always try to ensure that the RAID array you have is first of all capable of actually performing a rebuild and also that it has compatible hot swap hard drives or replacements to rebuild to ! A rigorous data back-up regime is also a must do for any server system.

Scheduled system rebuilds are normally better undertaken when system downtime can be tolerated as they can take a considerable time where the stored data volumes are relatively large. On most RAID configured systems, rebuilds can be prioritized against other system related activities such that the rebuild will occur in preference to operational demands.

Raid System Multiple Drive Failure.

In cases where a RAID array has more than one physical hard drive failure, it is almost impossible to perform an effective RAID recovery without the proper professional level data recovery tools. In essence, in order to repair a multi-drive RAID failure, you will typically have to rebuild at least one of the hard drives from scratch, make it functional, and then re-add it to the array while ensuring the data is absolutely intact.

RAID System Controller Problems

RAID controllers manage data storage, access and the maintenance of your multi disk system. Implementations of RAID controllers include Mylex, Adaptec, Compaq, HP and IBM. These implementations can rebuild a failed data volume from a  standby drive or a replacement drive.  A rebuild will however fail if two disk volumes fail simultaneously or if part of the native configuration is actually stored on a single failed volume. RAID’s can also fail as a result of the following situations and frequently a combination of one or more of them:

  • Malfunctioned Controller
  • Raid rebuild error or volume reconstruction problem
  • Missing RAID partition
  • Multiple disk failure in off-line state resulting in loss of RAID volume
  • Wrong replacement of good disk element belonging to a working raid volume
  • Power Surge
  • Data Deletion or reformat
  • Virus Attack
  • Loss of RAID configuration settings or system registry
  • Inadvertent reconfiguration of RAID volume
  • Loss of RAID disk access after system or application upgrade.

RAID 5 Bungled Rebuild

Datlabs technicians are frequently engaged by customers who have inadvertently bungled the RAID 5 rebuild process. Once a mistake has been made it is not obvious that there is no longer a simple means of rebuilding the RAID and restoring the stored data and operating system. The damage occurs if one removes several disks from the RAID 5 array, then plugs them back in a different order, and then performs a RAID 5 rebuild. The RAID 5 rebuild, sometimes called a re-synch, re-calculates and rewrites the XOR parity blocks of the array. A rebuild is executed automatically once the drive is removed and re-inserted, or after a power failure.The damage caused can be explained as :-

If you have problem with your RAID server, some of the processes listed below may help you to minimize further loss of data or at least increase your chance of successful recovery with the right expert.

1 2 3 P
4 5 P 6
7 P 8 9
P 10 11 12


With drives swapped
1 2 P 3
4 5 6 P
7 P 9 8
P 10 12 11


After the rebuild
1 2 P X
4 5 X P
7 X 9 8
X 10 12 11

P is the original parity and X the new parity.

Recovering RAID  System Configuration Tables

In the above case a software recovery will not be possible. A manual recovery can be accomplished but only by very experienced and capable technicians such as at the Datlabs workshops and Laboratories and there is sufficient and relevant data available to rebuild the contents of the array.

In the example a recovery requires knowledge of the original and current block sizes and disk order. Datalbs engineers are able to reverse engineer the configuration by iterative means without compromising the stored data.

Further RAID Problems

At default the RAID controller will instigate the rebuild automatically and in fact will exacerbate the problem. The rebuild in progress will destroy areas of stripped data and by the time the effects are apparent it can be too late for remedial work to be effective.

Restoring Drives in a RAID Array:

Without detailed knowledge of the disk drive order it is easy to mistakenly pull out a disk that is not the failed one. When this occurs the failed array will in fact be missing two disks and not just one. A two disk failure situation is beyond the auto recovery capabilities of the RAID 5 configuration.

In the majority of cases it is possible to bring the array back to life by re-inserting drives in a specific order however it is essential that drives are labelled corresponding to their original port in order to avoid further cock-ups and also identify, remove, and label the faulty drive.

Be aware however that Datlabs recommend that in ALL cases if you submit a failed RAID 5 array for data recovery and rebuild . IF YOU MESS UP the order in which you insert the disks you will get an enormous number of zeros added and mixed into the data. This sort of damage is generally fatal to subsequent rebuild and recovery attempts.

RAID Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a few general questions and answers that you may find of interest.

Some answers depend on the capability of your RAID and controller, however you will get the general theme which is

“if you haven’t done this before and don’t understand how a RAID system works,  then dont do it !”

Datlabs recommends that any actions with a RAID system are only undertaken by fully trained and competent technicians and with caution.

Can I delete my RAID array and create a new one without data loss?

Do not delete an array unless it is absolutely necessary. If for whatever crazy reason you are contemplating deleting an array, then back up the data in the array and also verify that this this data back-up can be restored.

Before deleting the array . Datlabs advice : don’t even think about it !

How can I find out what RAID levels are configured on my system?

You can generally see identify your configuration using the System Manager. Typically right-click an array (shown as a “virtual disk” in Array Manager) and select Properties to see what RAID level the array is. You can make RAID arrays easier to identify by naming them based on the RAID level and the physical disks they contain.

Do all drives in a RAID array need to be the same size?

It is recommended for continuity and safety purposes that all drives are of the same capacity and manufacture. In general all drives in an array do not have to be the same size as all drives in the array will default to the smallest drive in the array however you can see the dangers that are evident with installed drives of different capacity, in a fault situation.

Can I hot swap a drive in a RAID configuration?

If your system supports hot-swap-able drives (the ability to replace or insert a drive without powering down the system), you can replace a failed drive in a RAID array with a good drive that is the same size or larger than the other drives in the array. You can also insert spare drives to be configured into arrays or used as hot spares. When you add or replace a drive in an array, the RAID array begins to rebuild using the new drive.

NOTE: Never pull an active drive from an array unless it is placed in a failed state, out of service or prepared for removal.

Can I upgrade controllers without data loss?

A Data Loss situation will occur if you initialize a new controller that stores the configuration data differently than the controller it is replacing.

Think about this ! This is really not a good idea is it ? Get expert advice and assistance.

How do hot spares work in a RAID System?

A hot spare is a drive that is on standby in case another drive fails. Depending on how the array is configured, the drive is either picked up automatically and the array is rebuilt, or you manually select the drive and rebuild the array. Most systems ship with the automatic rebuild feature enabled. When a drive fails, the array rebuilds automatically using the hot spare. This is assuming that automatic rebuild is enabled

Note : If automatic rebuild is disabled, you must manually start the rebuild process. During a rebuild you may notice degraded performance on the drives.

How do I replace a drive?

If you introduce a new drive into the same slot where a bad drive was located, the fallback will generally be automatic (assuming that automatic rebuild is enabled on the system). In other words, a new drive inserted into the same slot as a previously bad drive acts as a dedicated hot spare for that array.

What is the rebuild rate?

In RAID 1, 5, 10, arrays, you can rebuild a failed drive by re-creating the data that was stored on the drive before it failed. With a RAID there is a factor called the “rebuild rate” This is essentially the amount of  system resource available to  the task of  rebuilding failed drives.  100 % means that the system is dedicated to rebuilding a failed drive, whilst a  zero per cent  means that the rebuild occurs only when the system is not doing other tasks.

What are stripe size and width?

The term “stripe” refers to a block of data that can be written to a group of hard drives as  part of a RAID system. Stripes can vary in size are can generally be configured for optimum performance. The term “stripe width” is defined as the  number of disks across which  striping is implemented. For example, a four-disk array with disk striping has a value of four. The term “stripe size” is the actually length of the interleaved data segments that a RAID controller writes across multiple drives.  Striping data across a number of hard disks means that the data within a file can be accessed simultaneously thereby improving access times and system performance.  The striping of data alone however does not provide redundancy. 

Is Disk Spanning the same thing as a RAID?

The simple  answer is No. Disk spanning uses a number of  physical hard drives  and presents them to the  operating system as a single unit of storage.  For example  four spanned  1 TB hard drives  appear as one 4 TB drive to the operating system. Disk spanning alone provides no data protection against the failure of a hard drive and the potential consequential loss of data.

RAID 0 Recovery

RAID 1 Recovery

RAID 5 Recovery

Datlabs Data Recovery Service Offices. 

Datlabs Data Recovery  Offices are open 0800 – 1700 on week days.   Call our Customer Service Desk for an  appointment and a reference number before dropping in.   With Emergency cases we attend within hours and will work on your equipment until your data is recovered

Datlabs London
Data Recovery Office

68 Lombard Street.
Near Bank Station
City of London.
T: 0207  293 0815

Datlabs Birmingham
Data Recovery Office

Grosvenor House,
11 St Pauls Square
B3 1RB.
T: 0121 629 0437

Datlabs Chiswick
Data Recovery Office

Bldg 3. Chiswick Park
566 Chiswick High Road.
W4 5YA.
T: 0207 111 0965

Datlabs Liverpool
Data Recovery Office

Horton House.
Exchange Flags.
L2 3PF.
T: 0151 676 0000.

Datlabs Manchester
Data Recovery Office

The Pavilions.
Bridgehall  Drive.
BL9 7NY.
T: 0161 452 3896.

Datlabs Leeds
Data Recovery Office

City West Business Park,
Gelderd Road.
LS12 6LN.
T: 0113 254 9742