Data Recovery Requires Special Skills When Storage Server Suddenly Fails
NEWS ANALYSIS: Suddenly and unexpectedly you can’t access your storage server. When you try to start it, it won’t boot up. If you don’t have backups, you are looking for a data recovery miracle.It turns out that Kroll Ontrack, the same company that recovered the data from the hard drive on the doomed Columbia space shuttle, had an office in Reston, Va., only a few miles from my office. I got in touch with Kroll Ontrack, set up an appointment with Peter Brown in the Reston office, and drove there with the server in my car. As I had suspected, the server’s drives were fine. The server’s firmware had indeed failed making it unusable, but with four hard disks that contained useable data. Brown logged the drives from the failed Buffalo server into Kroll Ontrack recovery system, and then copied the contents to the company servers. Once he had done that, David Logue, senior lead data recovery engineer for Kroll Ontrack, reconstructed the RAID array as a virtual device. Once that was done, he was able to copy the reconstructed data to an external drive that I picked up at Kroll Ontrack’s Reston office a few days later. This sounds simple mainly because in my case it wasn’t a complex problem. All of my drives were intact and operational; the data was stored in a standard format for Linux so there were no access problems. But it’s not always that simple.
“We did stuff from [hurricane] Sandy last fall,” said Mike Burmeister, director of Recovery Operations for Kroll Ontrack. “We had hard drives that had been underwater. We’ve had pretty good success.”