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RAID Array Failure

“Our RAID array was allowed to run in degraded mode without any attempt to fix the problem until it failed. Many thanks for recovering our data, following a disaster, which threatened to put us out of business.”

Mike Dalziel, Company Confidential, Brackley

Five 3TB Western Digital hard disk drives arrived at our laboratory in Oxford from Brackley, which had been removed from a RAID array. An examination of the drives by our data recovery hardware specialists revealed one of the drives had completely failed, suffering a read/write head failure, most likely due to overheating. Our engineers overcame the problem using donors, but the drive still behaved erratically, suffering from a large number of unreadable bad sectors.

The other four drives were securely imaged to our servers, one of them found to be suffering 10 unreadable bad sectors. The RAID array had been configured to use a RAID 5 configuration, known as distributed parity, allowing us to overcome the severe problems suffered by the failed hard drive. Analysis of the data revealed that the drive suffering the large number of read/write failures had been the first drive to fail.

When our RAID server recovery specialists analysed the other four recovered hard drive images they were able determine the RAID scheme, for which a virtual RAID 5 array was created. An examination of the virtual RAID array found a single 12TB NTFS data volume containing approximately 4.6TB of files. These recoverable files included several large databases, office documents and photos which were required. The recoverable files were scanned revealing a couple of image files and database had been damaged, but through the use of data from the damaged drive, all files were successfully recovered.

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