RAID or redundant array of inexpensive/independent disks is one of the most popular data storage visualization technologies. It involves the use of ONE logical unit for harvesting the advantages of data redundancy or performance enhancement. This logical unit is formed of a combination of multiple physical disk drive components for effective data distribution. The distribution of the data across the drives depends upon the requisite levels of performance and redundancy. These levels are called RAID levels and each one of them offers a unique balance of availability, reliability, performance, and capacity.
RAID levels are represented by alphanumeric names like RAID 0 to RAID 5. Higher the level, better the protection! RAID 5, being the highest RAID level, is reasonably robust and offers great protection against unrecoverable sector read errors and drive failures. It uses at least 3 disks and block-level striping with diverse equivalence. Note that write operations are slower in RAID 5. However, it offers enhanced performance, advanced redundancy, and cost-effectiveness to heavily read-oriented databases.
RAID 5 and data loss
The biggest benefit of RAID 5 is that if one of its drives fails, the others continue to work successfully without any data loss. However, this BIGGEST advantage sometimes calls for real trouble as well. For example, array rebuilding, with one failed drive, often results in all drives’ failure. This is because, during array rebuilding, data is read from all the disks which is likely to cause the failure of the second drive resulting in the loss of complete array. In another case, when RAID 5 has one failed drive, the entire array is lost when forced back online. Apart from this, other reasons for RAID 5 failure may include missing RAID partition, wrong volume configuration, malfunctioning of the controller, etc.
RAID 5 and data recovery
RAID 5 failures cause huge data loss. However, the real question is can this data be recovered anyway? Well, the simple answer to this is YES! In most of the cases, we can recover all the data by simple tricks! Here we present a step-wise procedure for RAID 5 data recovery.
Shut the PC down. Yes, you read it right! In case you detect a failure, just stop working and turn your computer off. This is because your RAID controller may be still working and performing writes on the drives, other than the failed ones. This may cause them to fail too thus it is better to shut your PC down.
Gather the necessary hardware/software. For a complete RAID recovery in one shot you may need the following necessary hardware and software;
- External storage with storage capacity equal to the size of the RAID disks. A spare PC can work best for this purpose.
- A continuous external power supply or UPS to run your PC. Power interruptions may halt the process of data recovery.
- An external HDD dock or another computer to attach the failed RAID disks. RAID 5 data recovery necessarily requires a bootable Windows OS.
- Authentic and trustworthy software for successful data recovery.
Pull apart all the drives from the RAID array. Run the drive vendor’s checking utilities for examining the physical integrity of the drives one by one. Identify the failed drives, note their numbers, names, and other parameters. Run the RAID recovery on the failed disks using pro software.
Note that a DIY repair is always risky. Thus we urge you not to tamper with your drives on your own and seek some professional guidance. To make it a little easier for you, we suggest SalvageData, offering the industry leading data recovery services. They have a team of highly skilled data recovery experts who guarantee 100% RAID 5 data recovery. SalvageData recovery labs are operational across 40+ locations in North America. Plus, they offer free data recovery software to help you recover your lost data from the comfort of your home.
If you’ve lost your important data and are worried about its recovery, SalvageData is your ultimate solution!