RAID 1 systems can usually survive a single drive failure, as they generally have good redundancy. RAID 1 is still susceptible to data loss however often through multiple disk failures or rebuild/reformat errors.
RAID 1 data recovery can be a very complicated process, and we recommend talking to an expert as a first step after a failure. This will give you the best chance of a successful recovery, and importantly ensure your first steps do not make the situation worse.
Data recovery RAID 1
Here we describe a little more about how RAID 1 is configured, and what the main considerations are with regard to RAID 1 data recovery.
What is RAID 1?
RAID, (Redundant Array of Independent (or Inexpensive) Disks), is a storage technology that is usually deployed to give users a fast, cost-effective and scalable solution to growing storage needs, with redundancy built in to protect against data loss.
Two types of RAID commonly exist: software RAID and hardware RAID. With software RAID, the operating system is responsible for organising data across the disks, and with hardware RAID a designated RAID controller manages this.
RAID 1 employs a system called mirroring, where the data is copied to another disk, and therefore offers more redundancy than, say RAID 0 or RAID 10. This enables the data to be read quickly but is not the most cost-effective setup as you need twice as much disk space as data.
Redundancy in this setup is good, and these systems can usually take a single disk failure in their stride. RAID 1 data recovery can still be necessary, however, as these RAID arrays can still fail after virus / malware / ransomware attack, multiple disk or hardware failures, and software or build / format errors.
Is data recovery from RAID 1 possible?
Whether or not your RAID 1 array is recoverable after data loss depends largely on what led to the problem in the first place. With RAID 1, usually, when one drive or device fails, the system has sufficient redundancy to avoid data loss.
But when multiple disks fail, perhaps due to a bad batch resulting in two drives failing quickly after each other, or if multiple drives are affected at the same time by a power surge or flood / fire damage, then data is very much at risk.
Physical damage like this can complicate the recovery as usually the media will need to be repaired in some way to enable access to the data. Your recovery provider will need a class 100 (or better) clean room in which to perform this repair and extract the best image possible of the raw data.
Once the raw data has been extracted, the system will then need to be recreated and repaired, which requires specialist tools and engineering experience, particularly if the image of the data is incomplete.
Sometimes R&D teams are required too, in order to custom develop bespoke or specific tools to repair the damage to the data set, or work out the required reconfiguration parameters to make the data once again accessible.
The RAID 1 recovery steps can be numerous, but we always recommend starting with a consultation with a data recovery company to scope out recovery options. This is almost always free and will help to ensure a non-destructive analysis and potential recovery route.
RAID server data recover experts can often recover from the following systems:
Most file systems
Most operating systems
What can I expect to pay for RAID 1 data recovery?
There are many different failure types, hardware and software configurations, and time considerations to factor into RAID 1 data recovery.
This makes it difficult to accurately predict fees ahead of time, but below you will see some RAID 1 data recovery averages charged by the more competent companies, to give you an idea of what you can expect to pay for data recovery from your RAID array.
In the end, however, only you really understand the value of your data, and only you can decide whether the costs represent good value versus living without the data, or the costs of restoring from an older backup (if it exists) or manually recreating any lost data.
24/7 emergency hours
Up to $500
Up to $1,000
RAID 1 recovery fee
$1,000-$2,500 per day
$2,500-$5,000 per day
$2,500 or more
$5,000 or more
*Of course charges can vary greatly between companies, but you need to make your decision on more than just price as you might only get one chance at RAID 1 recovery. Regionally $1 will roughly equate to €1 or £1. Expect all RAID recoveries including RAID 0 data recovery, RAID 1, RAID 5 and RAID 10 to fall in these ranges.
Usually, you will be offered an initial phone consultation for free, and we certainly recommend taking advantage of this before trying data recovery yourself. Onsite or emergency evaluations are normally chargeable.
When a more in-depth evaluation of your RAID 1 array, member disks, operating system or file structures is required to figure out the recovery parameters and give you guidance on the actual RAID 1 recovery fee, you will need to pay an evaluation fee.
It is well worth doing, however, as it should result in you being able to make a fully informed decision about whether or not to proceed to the recovery stage. This evaluation phase usually takes several days.
For the actual recovery stage, the prices can range greatly. RAID 1 data recovery can take anything from hours to weeks depending on the work required, and if any research and development of tools is necessitated then this can be even more costly and time-consuming.
Can I use RAID 1 data recovery software?
There are several RAID 1 software tools available, but as with all DIY data recovery, we highly recommend caution.
Sometimes you only get one chance to recover data, so if your data valuable, or if you don't have a decent backup to fall back on, is it really worth the risk?
Some RAID data recovery software tools can be destructive in their process, and all will potentially overwrite important data if you install the software directly onto the device that has data needing recovery.
Additionally, no software will fix a physical problem with you RAID 1 drives or controller, and if you continue to power up devices when a physical or electromechanical problem exists, you are likely to cause more harm.
Therefore before attempting recovery yourself - with or without software -we advise that you take advantage of a free consultation from a recovery company, it could be the difference between a successful recovery and not.
If software recovery of your RAID 1 array is something that you would nevertheless like to try, click the link below to see which RAID 1 recovery tools we recommend.
How do I increase my chances of data recovery from RAID 1?
Firstly, understand the complexity of RAID 1 data recovery, and before attempting it yourself, take advantage of the initial consultation with a data recovery company. They might decide that you can attempt it yourself, or they might provide you with some important information to ensure you don't lose access to your data altogether. It will usually be a relatively quick call, so you really have little to lose.
Of course, always try to do any recovery on a copy of your data with rollback measures in place, rather than live on the affected array. Don't ever install RAID 1 data recovery software directly onto the system that you are trying to recover - as mentioned previously this can cause irrevocable data loss.
If you decide instead to call in the experts, make sure they meet the following credentials:
A class 100 (dust free) clean room in which to fix any physical issues with your RAID disks.
Up to date and security / confidentiality certificates, with testimonials that support.
A research and development facility with excellent links to with key RAID 1 device and software manufacturers.
A wide range of independent reviews, as it can be quite common for the review sites to have manipulated responses.
Clear pricing structures, with all fees agreed in advance and the ability to stop the process whenever you want.
The data recovery market, especially for RAID arrays, can be a difficult one to navigate, but the research you put in will not only ensure the best chance of recovery, but also a sufficiently secure and confidential process
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