[unisog] recommendations for data recovery?

STeve Andre' andres at msu.edu
Mon Aug 8 16:30:31 GMT 2005

On Monday 08 August 2005 11:27, Christopher E. Cramer wrote:
> Let me start by apologizing to those who receive multiple copies of this,
> but we're in need of a bit of help.
> One of the departments at Duke has been using an Apple XServe RAID and
> ran into a problem.  As I understand it, one of the drives went bad.
> While restoring the replacement, a second drive went bad.  The department
> was able to send the disks off to a data recovery shop which was able
> to repair at least one of the bad drives.  So, in principle, we have
> the N-1 disks available to restore the data.  The problem is that the
> XServe RAID is not recognizing and incorporating the drives into the
> array.
> We're working with Apple on addressing the problem, however, in the
> meantime we are starting to plan for the contingency that the drives
> can't be reintegrated into the RAID.  We have spoken with the initial
> data recovery shop about the possibility of taking the data off of all
> N-1 disks and performing the striping and parity checking necessary
> to recover the original information.  Unfortunately, this appears to
> be outside of the company's area of expertise.  Given that, we are
> looking for recommendations for data recovery companies who may have
> done something like this.
> If you know of anyone who has such experience, please let me know.
> Sincerely,
> Chris

I feel your pain, Chris.  Once I was involved with a raid system which had 
some really critical medical data on it.  Several people and I were working
on the restoration of your kind of disaster.  Ultimately we got the truly 
needed data but didn't get everything back.

Now is not a pleasent time to say this, but *where* are your backups?
A raid system is NOT a replacement for backing up the data.  Given
that people put things on raid systems often because they contain
valuable data, that data should be backed up as well.  If its critical
enough, twice a day, or add an audit system such that a separate
disk gets all the data; maybe swap it out every day, etc.

I think your best shot will be to trawl around for Mac user mailing lists
and state your problems there, and ask for help.  This sounds complex
enough that I'd also offer to pay some amount for help on this; that
might bring more people out of the woodwork.

This is why I am wary of raid systems, and tend to keep my valuable
data spinning on three disks on different systems.  I know that isn't
possible when you cross some point in terms of size, but I would be
thinking about having a hot set of the data on some other disk on
another computer.

--STeve Andre'
Dept. of Political Science computer geek
Michigan State University
wb8wsf  en82

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