Thursday, 6 September 2007

Are you safely backed up?

Sean McBreen highlights the potential for information loss in our multi-gigabyte stores at home.
I guess that some assumptions had been made about the use of RAID arrays.

...terror as I cam home to hear my Maxtor Onetouch III 1TB external HDD clicking away and no longer in explorer... SCARY!

A few quick searches on the web and looks like I'm toast - so ironic as we have had a few HDD failures in our team over the last month. I just knew I should have backed up all those new baby photos we had been taking (I'm a dad now for 3 months).

After looking on-line and deciding that a fee of up to $2,000 and a distinct lack or warranty cover from the vendor I decided that I should take my chances and pop off the lid...

...I had the 2x500Gb drives configures in a Raid 0 set-up so ...

Unfortunately, RAID 0 does not provide any fault tolerance from disk failure, just better performance. In this case it doubles the chance of loss of data because either disk failing destroys the array. The RAID 1 option available on the Maxtor unit is preferable for resilience with marginal loss in write performance.
I think this takes you into the forensic data recovery area and having to re-build the entire 2 disk array sector by sector (assuming that some forensic geek can read the sectors off the dead drive). I recommend that you do not write to the remaining drive of the array as you may increase the rebuild effort.

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