Common Scenarios of Server Data Disasters

Ontrack Data Recovery has been the undisputed leader in the industry with the most technologically advanced data recovery solutions available. We have been serving customers globally for nearly 20 years with offices, clean rooms, engineers, and employees located around the world. During that time, we have seen many data loss situations ranging from commonplace to unique.

When a data loss occurs on something as valuable as a server, it is essential to the life of your business to get back up and running as soon as possible. Ontrack Data Recovery’s experience and technology to recover data from systems ranging from legacy and post-mainframe storage devices to the latest high-end SANs help you do just that.

Here is a sampling of specific types of disasters accompanied with actual engineering notes from recent Remote Data Recovery™ jobs:

Causes of Partition/Volume/File System Corruption Disasters

  • Corrupted File System due to system crash
  • File system damaged to automatic volume repair utilities
  • File system corruption due partition/volume resizing utilities
  • Corrupt volume management settings

Case Study

Severe damage to partition/volume information to Windows 2000 workstation; had used 3rd party recovery software--didn't work, reinstalled OS but was looking for 2nd partition/volume, found it and it was a 100% recovery. Evaluation Time: 46 minutes (Evaluation time represents the time it takes to evaluate the problem, make necessary file system changes to access data, and to report on all of the directories and files that can be recovered)

Causes of Specific File Error Disasters

  • Corrupted business system database; file system is fine
  • Corrupted message database; file system is fine
  • Corrupted user files

Case Study

Windows 2000 server, volume repair tool damaged file system; target directories unavailable. Complete access to original files critical. Remote Data Recovery safely repaired volume; restored original data, 100% recovery.
Evaluation Time: 20 Minutes

Exchange 2000 server, severely corrupted Information store; corruption cause unknown. Scanned Information Store file for valid user mailboxes, results took up to 48 hours due to the corruption. Backup was one month old/not valid for users.
Evaluation Time: 96 Hours (1.5 days)

Possible Causes of Hardware Related Disasters

  • Server hardware upgrades (Storage Controller Firmware, BIOS, RAID Firmware)
  • Expanding Storage Array capacity by adding larger drives to controller
  • Failed Array Controller
  • Failed drive on Storage Array
  • Multiple failed drives on Storage Array
  • Storage Array failure but drives are working
  • Failed boot drive
  • Migration to new Storage Array system

Case Study

Netware volume server, Traditional NWFS, failing hard drive made volume inaccessible; Netware would not mount volume. Errors on hard drive were not in the data area and drive was still functional. Copied all of the data to another volume; 100% recovery.
Evaluation Time: 1 hour

Causes of Software Related Disasters

  • Business System Software Upgrades (Service Packs, Patches to Business system)
  • Anti-virus software deleted/truncated suspect file in error and data has been deleted, overwritten or both.

Case Study

Partial drive copy overwrite using third party tools, overwrite started and then crashed 1% into the process, found a large portion of the original data. Rebuilt file system, provided reports on recoverable data; customer will be requiring that we test some files to verify quality of recovery.
Evaluation Time: 1 hour

Causes of User Error Disasters

  • During a data loss disaster, restored backup data to exact location, thereby overwriting it
  • Deleted files
  • Overwritten operating system with reinstall of OS or application software

Case Study

User's machine had the OS reinstalled – Restore CD was used; user looking for Outlook PST file. Searched for PST data through the drive because original file system completely overwritten. Found three potential files that might contain the user's data, after using PST recovery tools we found one of those files to contain all of the user's email; there were missing messages, majority of the messages/attachments came back.
Evaluation Time: 5 hours

Causes of Operating System Related Disasters

  • Server OS upgrades (Service Packs, Patches to OS)
  • Migration to different OS

Case Study

Netware traditional, 2TB volume, damage to file system when trying to expand size of volume, repaired on drive, volume mountable.
Evaluation Time: 4 hours