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Dust can kill your Hard Drive

Posted on 8th July 2013 by Shaun Weston
Do you have your computer tower on the floor? Think about all the dust floating around on the floor.  That dust will coat the components of your computer, making the fan less efficient at cooling the hard drive.  Heat and dust is a killer for hard drives.  Even if a single dust particle gets through the breather hole on your hard drive (designed to equalise pressure inside and out), this will have devastating consequences.  So move your off the floor and onto your desk!

Upgrade your RAID 5 to RAID 6

Posted on 4th July 2013 by Geraint Jones
RAID 6 (block-level striping with double distributed parity) provides fault tolerance up to two failed drives. This makes larger RAID groups more practical, especially for high-availability systems. This becomes increasingly important as large-capacity drives lengthen the time needed to recover from the failure of a single drive. Like RAID 5, a single drive failure results in reduced performance of the entire array until the failed drive has been replaced and the associated data rebuilt.  We have seen a massive increase in the number of RAID enquiries (possibly because of the hot weather).  We recommend that all our RAID 5 clients upgrade to RAID 6.  All it costs is the price of another hard drive!

DC600A and DC6525 QIC Tapes

Posted on 27th June 2013 by Aran Pitter
We have been recovering data from scores of DC600A and DC6525 data cartridges from 1980s.  These are in a range of operating systems including CPIO and SYTOS.  For some reason SYTOS encrypts the headers and version 3.11 or earlier seems to encrypt the data using a table look-up, which is taking days to decipher.  For each character we need to work out the translation.  To get the original software to process these tapes is a non-starter, so the only way to extract the files is to write a utility. CPIO is a fairly easy format to work with and these ran through very quickly. With regards the erased tapes, the drive energises a full width erase bar which erases across the whole of the 18 recorded data tracks. Since the data is serpentine this means if we get past the first erased section we can read up to PEOD then back to PBOT then we run into another erased section, so we end up with up to 9 sections of data (after a lot of effort) then have to work out how to do something with it.

LTO-5 Tape for Data Recovery

Posted on 4th June 2013 by Aran Pitter
We have been sent an LTO-5 tape for data recovery.  We have been able to read the start of the LTO5 tape. It is an LTFS tape, so not sure which application wrote the data to it.  The problem now is that the tape contains a few blocks of data followed by EOD. It appears that the tape was “re-initialised”. This means that the original data is no longer accessible.  Getting past EOD on LTO5 is a very tricky process, then dealing with LTFS data where the front end of the backup has gone is another complex issue. We can recover the data but we are going to have to strip it down block by block and manually rebuild it - a complex task indeed!

Geophysical Tapes in VMS Backup

Posted on 30th May 2013 by Aran Pitter
Just been sent 20 x 9-track open reel tapes recorded at 1600 or 6525bpi in VMS backup.  The client is looking for the data returned on DVD.  Backup sets from the tapes are being processed and files extracted using the directory and file structure therein.  The path structure will then be converted from the VMS standard [000000.path.path]file.ext;version to produce Windows compatible path and names. VMS file version numbers will be incorporated into the file name.  However we are not sure yet if the tapes are in working order, so these may need to go to the curing ovens.

Data Recovery from Open Reel Tapes

Posted on 28th May 2013 by Tony Pitter
The tape is either developing physical problems or else has been written to using a drive that is beginning to fail. At one point close to the physical end of the tape the recording becomes difficult to read. As the recording is multi-track .serpentine. the recording passes this position on the tape multiple times, and each time there is either a protracted struggle to read data or else a failure and some data loss.

SDLT Backup Sets

Posted on 15th May 2013 by Chantal Stone
Two backup sets on SDLT have been received.  Between them these contain approximately 130GB of data backed up from the \Macfiles directory.  To complete this recovery we must finish the recovery process from the tape to get all available data. In our tests we have been able to get most of the data from the problem areas, and might eventually recovery all of it. It will be safe to presume that there will be some data loss but that 99% of the data will be recovered.

StorageMaster Geophysical Tapes

Posted on 1st May 2013 by Chantal Stone
We have got 200 StorageMaster geophysical tapes which read successfully with no data recovery issues.  The density is 800bpi.  But, there is no printable (ASCII or EBCDIC) information in the file - i.e. it contains binary data only.  Without a format diagram, we are going to copy the data and encapsulate in TIF.

VM Deletion

Posted on 16th April 2013 by Geraint Jones
Our client deleted a VM from their server and has just realised the partition contains all their client management records!  Our scans initially showed Hypervisor 1 to 5 and we discovered a Windows installation which, we originally assumed is what the VM contains.  Subsequent scans did not highlight the deleted partition, but when we approached the software developers and obtained example files, we managed to identify the lost files from the file signatures!

Infotrend Server Recovery

Posted on 1st April 2013 by Duncan Clark
Work is progressing slowly on our recent Infotrend server recovery with 12 x 1TB drives - massive!  The RAID is an Eonstor A12F-G2422.  This RAID had just one logical drive configured, being RAID5 using all 12 disks with no o information on stripe size.  The RAID was attached to a Linux server, with an XFS filesystem. 2 of the disks were very badly damaged and not repairable.  This has been running for three weeks, but we are now having some success!

Badly Damaged OST File

Posted on 27th March 2013 by Duncan Clark
Received a very badly damaged OST file. Moreover, it was 6GB in size and recovering it and converting it was a lot of work!    The PST file was checked 100% using Outlook 2010.  No major corruption apparent anywhere.  It's been copied to a DVD and dispatched to a very happy client.

RV20 Optical Disks to DLT IV

Posted on 16h March 2013 by Shaun Weston
Our client is looking to copy the data off RV20 Optical disks to DLT IV. The RV20 is compatible with the VAXBI Bus Interface and the Q bus, and DEC guaranteed a 30-year life for data and images stored on the disks, it includes the drive, controller and bus adaptor and the system is compatible with the Digital Storage Architecture.   The client has over 300 of these disks with data on them.  The files have been written to the disks in VMS format at version 6.0 and exist within backup save sets.  A large block size has been used to store the save sets and therefore it is not possible to restore them with a $MOUNT/OVER=ID and straight $COPY back to disk.  We are restore the save sets to tape “as existing” on DLT IV.

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