A Simple Guide for Learners
Redundant Array of Independent Disks is a technique of storing the same data on multiple hard disks to improve application performance and fault tolerance of data. You can thereby avoid data loss even when the one drive is inaccessible. RAID has become significant both for consumer-class and enterprise-class storage products. Though RAID improves data storage capacity, there are chances of losing data from your RAID-based storage array. Still, there are ways to prevent this data loss. So, if you are looking for these useful tips, then go through this article carefully. For additional help, you are always asked to consult with a data recovery specialist as only he/she can guide you in the best way possible.
Causes of RAID Failure and Data Loss:
Though RAID is likely to secure your data, you might lose your data if RAID servers fail due to the following reasons. Before moving on to the tips to prevent data loss, check out the various sources for your convenience.
RAID servers are protected with a strong and powerful antivirus program. But, some malicious codes are so intense that RAID fails to resist it from entering the drive. As a result, your data gets affected and you suffer from a severe data loss.
You might lose data due to improper handling of the drives where you have stored the data. You can’t access the data deleted or overwritten on the hard disk. Similarly, data won’t be available if you have formatted or partition the hard drive.
Power Surge or Outage
Apart from human errors, sudden power surge or outage might lead to failed RAID servers. Only specific utilities and advanced techniques can recover the data affected by a power surge or outage.
The RAID system might turn out to be useless due to natural calamities. It happens since natural disasters damage hardware, software, or both these components. In such a situation, you can restore the data by reconstructing the file systems with specific techniques. To be precise, you need to rebuild the failed RAID system at anytime.
Yet there are many other factors that can be associated with RAID data loss. It includes a failed RAID Controller, RAID array, or damaged RAID Strip. Moreover, you might lose data due to an error while rebuilding the RAID system. Data becomes inaccessible when the RAID System Registry gets corrupted or you fail to upgrade an application. Volume reconstruction, incorrect configuration settings, or wrong replacement of a hard drive element to a working RAID. Finally, you will lose data if all the drives carrying the data are damaged.
Effective Data Loss Prevention Tips for RAID Users:
Here, we have come to the main part of this article. Check out the data loss prevention tips and use them to secure your data.
Many RAID array types are available in the market and each of them is different from another. Each type of RAID follows a particular set of redundancies to prevent data loss. Thus, you must be clear with what you want to accomplish and then determine how a RAID hard drive can help you. Therefore, we have discussed the popular types of RAID arrays available in the market.
RAID 0 uses two or more disks to improve the performance of the RAID server. This disk stripping allows your PC to use multiple disks to perform several functions simultaneously. This configuration is not as useful as the entire array gets affected when one disk fails to perform. So, it is not a good choice when you are planning to store a large array of data.
It uses disk mirroring where data is seamlessly copied from one disk to another. Thus, whenever you create some information, RAID 1 creates a mirror image and a built-in copy of that information. It is a useful approach to prevent data loss but it can reduce the efficiency of your PC during the initial mirror build as well. But, the speed will go back to normal after the mirror has been created.
It employs a combination of mirroring and stripping. It thereby improves the performance of your application and minimizes the chances of losing data. RAID 5 is mostly used in enterprises but can lead to a lag in the performance of systems when too many users try to write the information.
2. Backup Your Data
Studies have shown that 76% of users do not back up their data. It is important to back up your RAID regularly. So, backup your RAID data on a regular storage media or cloud. To initiate an easy backup, transfer the files from RAID volume to external drive volume or volumes. Use Google Drive, One Drive, Mega, or other backup service providers to automate the RAID backup. After creating the backup, ensure that the data restoration has happened as intended. If you have backup software, then use it to check the data for file integrity or function.
3. Monitor the Status of RAID Drives
Your work doesn’t end with storing data with RAID storage. After saving your data, monitor the status of RAID drives. To do so, track your RAID array use and create a plan of action so that you can swiftly respond to any RAID failure. Moreover, if you witness one RAID array failure, then replace that particular drive. Then, try to repair the failed hard drives or else call professionals to recover the data.
4. Too Many Failed Disks
If you experience a RAID hard drive failure, then don’t perform a rebuild operation impulsively. Rebuilt will be useful if you have to replace one disk. RAID hard drives have a hot plug where hard drives can be easily switched out. After replacing the bad drive, run the rebuild operation without losing any data.
It is not a foolproof solution thus, something might go wrong during the rebuild and damage your device. So, consult with a data recovery specialist before carrying out this operation. Otherwise, you won’t be able to change anything once it has taken place.
On the other hand, if two or more disk fails in the RAID hard drive, then let a data recovery specialist inspect the drive. Instead of doing that if you attempt to replace more than one drive and then rebuild, data will be lost forever.
5. Invest in Reliable and RAID Ready Hard Drives
A standard hard drive is different from a RAID hard drive. RAID hard drives offer higher quality, higher RPM, and error handling features. Thus, RAID hard drives are a better option for taking care of reallocated(bad sectors). Unlike a normal hard drive, a RAID hard drive has faster recovery time and doesn’t suffer from a read/write error. As a result, they have improved error handling capabilities and lesser disk degradation.
For instance, the RAID hard drive never becomes unresponsive if it encounters a read/write error. Instead of that, the RAID controller both hardware and software marks the drive as unreliable and prompts the user to replace it. Replacing a drive like RAID 5 or 6 in the RAID array is a long process and can degrade the RAID performance. Moreover, it might overheat the aging drive and lead to potential failure and data loss. Hence, you should better avoid the prompt of replacing a drive in the RAID array.
6. Install Malware and Virus Protection
Minimum two disks such as RAID 0 or RAID 5 are necessary to create a logical drive volume built like RAID. Malware and Viruses are well-known reasons for logical and file system errors in a RAID array. It, in turn, leads to corruption or failure of the RAID and all your data are lost. Therefore, install a reliable malware software to protect your data against such RAID failures and corruption.
7. Optimize RAID Array
It is not impossible for RAID drives to accumulate bad sectors and fragments. As a result, these RAID drives fail to provide your saved data. But, you can also avoid RAID failures by optimizing RAID drives by these two methods discussed underneath:
After storing your data on RAID drives, run the CHKDSK utility to scan the drives and remove all bad sectors and fragments from them.
Windows Disk Defragmentation Tool
It is a builtin tool in most computers whereas, you need to install it in case it is absent in your PC. This tool scans the intended drives and fix the defragmented ones at any time.
8. Install Device Driver and Software Updates
We have discussed in the previous section of this article that software and hardware failures are the most common reasons for data loss in your RAID array. So, you can prevent the RAID data loss by updating the device drivers and Operating System to their latest versions. These updates fix the existing bugs and improve overall system performance and reliability. Thus, make sure that you update your drivers and software in order to prevent RAID data loss.
9. Rebuild RAID Carefully
Rebuilding can be difficult and challenging for a failed RAID with significant data. Again, RAID rebuilding takes significant hours and make excessive drive usage. Thus, you might experience issues like drive overheating which can damage the drive. So, if the drive fails, then you would suffer from a permanent data loss in RAID based storage array.
There is a simple way to avoid such permanent data loss. To do so, you need to clone the existing drives before inserting a new drive in the RAID array. You can even download and install a tool to clone the existing RAID drives.
Now, what to do if the RAID drives get damaged, unfortunately? In such a situation, you can sue a data recovery software to rebuild the damaged RAID drives or arrays. You can also use this solution even if you don’t know the parameters of the RAID arrays.
10. Ensure Uninterrupted Power Supply
Power failure and surge will undoubtedly cause problems in the RAID arrays and your system. For example, it might affect the motherboard and lead to permanent data loss in RAID. Similarly, a sudden system shutdown can cause logical errors in the RAID configuration and damage your data. So, use a UPS or power inverter to ensure uninterrupted power supply. Besides this, you will get enough time to shut down the RAID array and secure your data.
11. Check the RAID Backup
Check the backup to ensure that it is up to date, restorable, and accessible. Use a separate drive to check the data viability. Then, test the data backup on the storage array that are not associated with the drives inside the failed array. Finally, make sure that all the drives including the one configured for parity are available in a healthy state.
12. Avoid the Possibilities of Faulty Rebuilt
The rebuilding process won’t be successful if the RAID card fails to read one of the drives in the RAID array. It happens because the RAID card marks unavailable drives as inaccessible. So, try not to rebuild the array with similar drives in the case of RAID failure. You can thereby have redundancy to RAID data. The array needs to be wholly aligned with the original configuration. Otherwise, the newly rebuilt RAID will corrupt the collected data.
13. Check the RAID Card and Motherboard
It can be possible that instead of the RAID drives, the RAID card or motherboard is faulty. To rule out this probability, let the data recovery specialist replace the RAID card. The RAID configuration seems to be OK if the RAID card can detect the RAID drives.
14. Never Guess the RAID Configuration
It is a big mistake to guess the RAID configuration including its parity, stripe, rotation, and offset configurations. Otherwise, incorrect guesses will make it difficult to salvage the repaired file definition. So, you can easily read the factory manuals to know the correct RAID configurations.
Several users have found these aforesaid tips useful. But, you can obtain data recovery services if these tips aren’t sufficient enough to prevent data loss in your RAID-based storage array. Also get the best Mac data recovery by our expert professionals team.
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Frequently Asked Questions:
- Why Should We Deploy a Data Recovery Software?
Data Recovery Software identifies the disk arrangement, parity, partitions, strip values, and more for RAID configuration. This software is also responsible to repair any corrupted data available in disk partitions. Thus, data recovery software is a complete solution for recovering data from a failed RAID.
- How to Make RAID Data Recovery Possible?
Do not panic once you have encountered a RAID failure. Trust the RAID card and do not initiate a process that might lead to catastrophic data loss. Be clear with the RAID concepts and what a RAID rebuilt does and doesn’t do. Test your backups on a different storage array. Reuse drives from a failed array one when the backup is verified. Never remove individual drives from a RAID array and plug them into USB chassis to recover data.