When a company processes approximately 50,000 data recoveries a year, we see just about everything. There are a lot of water-damaged mobile devices, crashed heads and logical failures. Every once in a while we get a data recovery request that makes us stand up and take notice. The story of this surveillance video is one of them. Not only due to the extraordinary measure in which the data was lost, but also the effort it took to get the data back.
It all started with an emergency service call on the weekend. We have engineers on call 24-7 for situations that are very time-critical either due to the nature of the data loss or the data that needs to be retrieved. If you lost the photos of your family dog, it could probably wait until normal business hours. The customer had two drives belonging to a surveillance camera system; an 80GB WD boot hard drive and a 400GB Seagate data hard drive. They were involved in a structural collapse and sustained severe damage and contamination. Both were needed for retrieval of critical video footage. They sent the drives to our cleanroom for recovery.
The drives were both heavily contaminated with dust, dirt and concrete powder. Our engineers worked quickly and carefully to disassemble, and clean the drives. Once the drives were contaminant-free they were able to start troubleshooting them of any further structural issues. When everything was repaired, they could start looking into any logical failures. Luckily, both drives were free from logical errors. With the assistance of some special tools and software (aka, our secret sauce) our engineers were able to image both drives at 100%.