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Posts Tagged ‘Hard drive recovery’

Data Recovery when everything fails

Much data recovery work involves the salvage of data from one specific type of storage, a hard drive, RAID array, backup tape or DVD. Occasionally a requirement pops up that transcends this norm.

Having faithfully adhered to a regime of nightly backup of a SUN UNIX system, the failure of the hard drive appeared to be an inconvenience that would soon be overcome for this customer. The hard drive having swiftly been replaced, the backup tape was brought back from storage and the restore process initiated. Five minutes in, however, and the DLT drive made a nasty noise, the cleaning lights came on and ufsrestore became ufs-cannot-restore.

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Hard drive recovery – peeling back the layers

“How many layers of data can you go down on a hard disk drive?” was the question over the phone. Not really a silly question, there is so much mis-information about how hard it is to erase data from hard drives, and how “data-can-be-recovered-even-after-the-platters-have-melted” (possibly the latter is a slight exaggeration).

It is worth debunking the myth quickly. With a hard disk there is a single layer of recordable material on each side of each platter. When an area of this disk is written to, whatever was at the area previously has gone forever. No need to write over it seven times, no need to sandblast the disk.

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What future has tape data storage?

With the volume of data being stored doubling every 18 months, and the possibility of increased regulation in the financial sector following the recent debacle possibly tightening all areas including data retention and data availability, how best to secure data for the long term?

In our data recovery business we are seeing an increase in hard drive recovery work from disk based backup systems. “We don’t use tape anymore” being the gist of many a statement on the subject of backup strategy, “disk based systems are so much more easy to use, and recovering the data is less arduous”. This much is true, disk based storage systems can be on-line permanently, de-duplication can be used to reduce the volume of extraneous data, and down time caused by accidental file deletion or local system failure can be kept to a minimum.

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