RAID data saved after fire damage...

We received a RAID-5 array which had failed following a fire. There were four hard drives in the array and two were showing signs of physical damage to the PCBs. Although administrators had remotely logged in and started to extrcat data from the RAID following evacuation, the server crashed shortly into the process. 

The server had all the critical data relating to the business and more importantly - all their client files in PSD, PDF, AI, PNG and JPG formats. There was no reliable off site backup. Tape backups stored on site had also been damaged in the fire and it was decided it would be more economical and effective to recover data directly from the RAID. 

Upon examination the PCBs on each hard drive in the RAID had literally melted and when the chassis were opened there was considerable smoke damage. Where the hard drive electronics were damaged, it is normally necessary to completely rebuild the circuitry. However the damage was so extensive that we had to find replacements and reprogram them. Each fire damaged drive was carefully cleaned to prevent contamination of the platters by soot and smoke particles. All the hard drives except one responded well to this process and we were able to gain sufficient 'images' of the raw data from the other three drives. Thankfully the redundancy in RAID5 meant we were still confident of a good data recovery.

By emulating the hardware controller which had also been damaged, we were able to reconstruct the data and send a file listing to the client of recoverable files. It was subsequently decided by the client that the Exchange Server information should be broken down into individual PST files for each mailbox. The remaining data remained in it's existing file structure. Mission critical data was then FTP to the client that day, whilst all other data was backed up to external USB devices. The complete process was completed within 72 hours and the client only lost a single working day in downtime. Since then the client has instigated 'Cloud' backup upon our advice.