RAID 5: Recover or Bust

raid5bHaving a RAID array can make you feel pretty proud of yourself. Either you made it yourself or you had someone do it for you. You feel pretty great knowing that you’ve increased the productivity of your computer and that the server you’ve been using or had planned is working out well. RAID 5 is different from RAID 1 and RAID 10 in that it doesn’t have hard drives that simply mirror each other.

Since RAID 5 uses parity data you need to determine the parity position and rotation in order to get the full configuration of your array. If you’ve had a failure and you want to manually recover your data you need to unsure you know where the parity data is being stored so that you can map your array and know exactly what needs to be corrected.

(Warning: If you don’t understand any of what you’ve just read, look here for some emergency data recovery tips. You don’t want to damage your server!)

This can be overwhelming for a lot of people, even some professionals like this Orange County data recovery service, so don’t think that you’re expected to know all of these things and be able to correct this issue on your own. Check out Hard Drive Recovery Group’s RAID recovery service page for more information on the difficulty of this job.  There is software that can be downloaded that will do a scan of your set up and figure out those parity settings for you. This is a lot less time consuming and will allow you to get on with the repair sooner rather than later.

Once you’ve got your array recovered you can start looking into recovering your actual data. As previously mentioned, there is software that can do this for you, for a small fee. Some companies will give you trial or free software to detect the problem and then you know before you purchase if the software is even capable of doing the repair.

These software recoveries are really useful if you have a logistical issue. This means there is nothing physically wrong with your hard drive but that you have an issue with the controller software or something of the like. If you have a physical issue you can try to use the software to at least recover your data and then send the physical drive for repair or get it replaced. Once you have your data recovered, you can do either option. Of course, if you know you have a physical issue with your hard drive and you are using the software to recover your data, don?t use the hard drive in your array that has the physical problem or you?ll only end up losing it.

Once you’ve identified the problem if you’ve decided to send it in somewhere for repair you need to ensure you are using a company that actually has experience repairing RAID arrays, like Hard Drive Recovery Group. As you can probably tell from the array set ups and the mirroring sequences RAIDs are not as simple to recover as regular hard drive failure. You not only want the company to recover your data but to also keep your RAID array in working order and that means they need to preserve or repair your controller settings and other array-specific needs.

RAID 5 recoveries can be a bit more difficult than RAID 1 or RAID 10 as it is not simple mirroring. It?s redundant which makes it a bit less tricky than a RAID 0 array, which is not, but if you aren?t comfortable doing it yourself then you need to ensure that you are hiring a professional who has the experience to ensure the job is done right the first time. Make sure they have a certified clean room so that your data doesn?t end up worse off than when it went in.

It?s not doomed and the world isn?t ending. RAID 5 is just a recoverable as other RAID arrays. You just have to know which buttons to push.

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