RAID hard drive system failures and recovering your data

RAID (redundant array of independent disks) failures can be stressful. Many RAID systems, especially network appliances and drive enclosures, don’t give us much feedback about what’s wrong.

Don’t rebuild that RAID!

If you aren’t 100% certain that the data on your RAID is backed up, it may not be wise to attempt a rebuild.  Many rebuilds end in failure and may compromise the data that is left on the remaining functional drives.  If you don’t want to risk it, it’s best not to attempt a rebuild on a failed RAID.  The process may stress out the other drives in the RAID or the rebuild process itself may corrupt the data the RAID had stored.  Either way, it’s not generally advised to do so.

Consumer grade RAIDs fail more often

A lot of the off the shelf RAID enclosures are built with the idea of providing cost effective RAID systems for home users and small businesses.  The problem is that the design of these enclosures is less than optimal.  The drives are generally sandwiched together too closely to ventilate heat, leading to hardware failures.  The enclosure itself may not give sufficient feedback about the status of the RAID, its health or other important metrics.  And the enclosures themselves are generally made with lower quality circuitry than enterprise components, meaning that they tend to have more early life cycle failures.

RAIDs are not replacements for backups

One of the most important points to be made here is that RAID systems by themselves are not backups.  They are redundant data containers.  That means they avail some forms of restoring your data and handling errors that may make them more ideal than a single hard drive (when implemented properly and well maintained).  But they are not going to allow you to have multiple iterations of your data, let alone redundant copies available to restore from.  Corruption that happens on a a RAID’s file system damages all of the data without much recourse.  As do catastrophic RAID failures.  This means that if you are not backing up your RAID system, you should.  It is critical to do so to ensure continuity of your data in case of a disaster.

RAID data recovery is a specialized field

When you need to recover data from a RAID system, be sure to hire a qualified professional.  These types of data recoveries are very sensitive and if mishandled data can be lost forever.  Arlington Virginia Computer Repair offers RAID system data recovery at affordable prices to individuals, businesses and organizations in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.  If you are having issues with your RAID system please contact us today for expert help.

Posted in Data recovery.