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Hard Drive in a Fishbowl – An Inside Look at the Data Recovery Process

I’ve been working in data recovery for several years, but there are still cases that surprise me.  There are many run-of-the-mill days, but there are the days I will always remember. Before I started working in this field, data was simply data for me.  Over time my view drastically changed. Eventually, I came to the realization that the value of data is not in the information itself, but in the …Read More

VMFS 5 – Unified Block Size

An interesting piece, “Increasing Storage vMotion Performance with Unified VMFS Block Size” by Chris Wahl, illustrates why having a unified block size on VMFS volumes is important for Storage vMotion performance. One of the statements in his blog struck me as needing some additional comments. “With VMFS5 there is no longer a choice in block size. All newly created VMFS5 datastores are formatted with a 1 MB block size. I’m …Read More

SSDs: Flash Technology with Risks and Side-Effects

SSDs (Solid State Drives) are now used as storage media in business almost everywhere. According to a new survey conducted by Kroll Ontrack, a specialist in data recovery, IT departments are still challenged by error rates, data recovery and secure data destruction. The results showed that 91% of the companies surveyed deploy SSDs, mostly on the client side (i.e. in desktop PCs and laptops). The survey further found that 51% of companies had to replace …Read More

The Low Down on Recovering Deleted Files

Recently, I’ve received several questions related to the recovery of deleted files.  What happens when a file is deleted on a Windows-based system, and what causes those files to be lost and therefore unrecoverable?  Further, what could I have done to prevent their loss?  To answer those questions, we first need to answer another very important question. How does Windows save file data on a NTFS volume? When you create …Read More

Preventing Data Loss During RAID and Drive Rebuilds – Part 2

This is a follow up to the original article on RAID vs. Drive Rebuilds. Several questions came up about RAID and drive rebuilds and preventing data loss since the original posting, and Part 2 will attempt to address those questions. One of our readers noted:  “In your first example, parity is missing from stripe 4. You didn’t mention how that stripe can get rebuilt if there’s no parity.” The parity …Read More

Mobile device data recoveries up 161%

If you can believe it, the International Telecommunication Union predicts the number of mobile phones worldwide is expected to exceed the world’s population by 2014. With the increase of mobile devices comes an increase in need for mobile device data recovery. Kroll Ontrack has seen major increases in mobile device data recovery over the past few years: 2010-2011: 55% increase 2011-2012: 161% increase Physical damage is the most common cause …Read More

VMware and NFS – Disconnected, Lost and Saved?

Recently VMware® and NetApp® identified an issue that affects multiple customers.  Customers running ESX 5 can experience issues with NetApp NFS data volumes under high load.  Vaughn Stewart detailed the “naughty” behavior and the proposed resolutions from NetApp and VMware in his blog at http://virtualstorageguy.com/.  Specifically he noted: A NFS datastore disconnect issue displays the following behaviors: NFS datastores are displayed as greyed out and unavailable in vCenter Server or …Read More

RAID vs. Drive Rebuilds

What happens when a RAID rebuild goes wrong and what can be done to prevent that from happening to you?  To answer the question, you need to understand how data is written to a RAID array and what happens when a drive fails and a rebuild is started.  I am going to use a Windows NTFS volume and a 4 drive RAID 5 array as the example system. Windows splits …Read More

SSD vs. HDD – Minimizing the Risk of Data Loss

This post is a continuation of the series on Solid State Drives (SSDs) and their role in enterprise storage.  In the first post, I discussed the differences between traditional HDDs and SSDs.  In the second post, I looked at the challenges associated with data destruction and asset disposal. In this post, I will discuss: How to minimize risks associated with data loss How to minimize risks associated with data destruction. …Read More

SSD vs. HDD – Data Destruction and Asset Disposal

Why care about data destruction and asset disposal?  According to the US Department of Commerce, data security breaches cost US companies more than $250 billion per year!  A few examples will help illustrate the importance of proper data erasure and asset disposal practices.  A Loyola University (Chicago) computer with the Social Security numbers of 5,800 students was discarded before its hard drive was erased, forcing the school to warn students …Read More