Remember when we helped James Bond…

With the forthcoming James Bond film Spectre, out on Monday, we cast our mind back to when Data Recovery Specialists lent a small hand to our favourite spy! Die another Day released in 2002 was the twentieth film in the series and starred Pierce Brosnan. Whilst the film was in post-production, our client who was editing the sound approached us after a critical RAID failure of two hard drives. Specifically they had lost the sound for the underground scenes with John Cleese who was playing ‘Q’.

Fraught with the worry of how they were going to recover the data, our client who was acting for Eon Productions approached us. Data recovery was still in its infancy and traditionally this client had stored all their data on magneto optical disks in vast jukebox libraries. Hard drive was still a relatively new concept for data storage in the post production industry and capacities were still small by today’s standards. Data recovery was made easier because most hard drives still only employed a single platter with read/write heads above and beneath.

The RAID-5 array of hard disk drives had failed after two disks crashed almost instantaneously. We thought that the strain on the controller after the first failure had caused the second failure. Being absolutely identical disks using exactly the same components, meant that a manufacturing defect in one was almost certainly mirrored in others.

Thankfully only one disk had failed catastrophically and the others were all relatively healthy. This meant that we were able to image the other disks before using them as donors for replacement parts. Under normal circumstances we would never do this and always try to retain the integrity of all hard drives in an array in case we need to revisit them. However a replacement hard drive was not immediately available and could have taken weeks to source. With deadlines looming and a very high expectation of success, the client was happy to continue.

Working over a weekend, we were able to recover all the data and courier the data over to our client in Pinewood Studios for Monday morning. Unexpectedly we received an invite to tour the James Bond studios and film set, together with a superb signed photograph which still takes pride of place in the sales office!