Why Data Recovery Comes Handy Even if You Do RAID and Backups

This article will explain the meaning of the term “fault tolerance”, the extra security RAID systems add, and what backups can and can’t do when it comes to securing valuable information. Familiarizing oneself with one of the many data recovery tools is an essential step of ensuring data integrity in the long run. Fault-tolerant systems, redundant storage arrays and even scheduled backups often do not mitigate the need of having a data recovery tool. Why is it so? This article looks at what ‘fault tolerance’ means, what kind of additional data safety is provided by RAID arrays, and what backups can and cannot do when it comes to ensuring the integrity of your data.

Why Data Recovery Comes Handy Even if You Do RAID and Backups

Fault Tolerant Systems

Many businesses relying on a working IT infrastructure are getting computers with an additional level of robustness. Sony, Toshiba, Hitachi, Samsung often advertise these as “fault tolerant”, meaning they are likely to continue working as a whole even if one or more of their components fail. With regards to information storage, fault-tolerant systems are commonly employing either distributed data storage or RAID arrays, or both, to ensure that even if one or several hard drives fail, the storage subsystem continues working and serving read and write requests. Unlike ‘normal’ PCs that are likely to fail as a whole in an event of even a small failure fault-tolerant systems will just go on and on even if some of their parts fail.

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So why do we need data recovery tools if the storage system is seemingly bullet-proof? The answer lies in the kind of fault-tolerance delivered by these systems. While the system will continue working even if one or more hard drives fail, the ‘fault tolerance’ will only protect against hardware failures, and will do nothing or very little to ensure logical integrity of the data.

The tool recovers data from any devices, regardless of the cause of data loss.

A software failure, file system crash, a virus attack, employee misconduct, malicious activities or plain user error will render all instances of user data equally unusable or inaccessible on all hard drives on a logical level, while everything may just work fine on a physical level. Logical errors are best mitigated with a proper data recovery tool such as Hetman Partition Recovery, a program that can recover files and folders from hard drives with damaged, corrupted or missing file systems.

Redundant Storage and RAID Arrays

Organizations with limited budget as well as many home users will often limit the ‘fault tolerant’ bit of their computers to assembling a redundant storage subsystem. RAID arrays are part of the strategy used by computer builders to assemble a partially fault-tolerant system.

RAID arrays, if used per se, will only provide partial resistance to hardware failures. While one or more hard drive failures may be tolerated, a failed RAID controller will render the whole system unusable.

As is the case with true fault-tolerant systems, a RAID array will only deliver limited protection against a physical failure of one or more hard drives comprising the array. Even the best RAID will not protect against a file being accidentally deleted, or a virus wiping the Documents folder clear, or an application failure rendering the file system corrupted and the entire volume inaccessible. A recommendation to become familiar with a good data recovery tool (such as Hetman Partition Recovery) stands even truer in the case of redundant RAID arrays.

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Backup Plans

A concise backup plan will definitely lower the pressure of keeping your data safe. Implementing and meticulously following a backup policy allows restoring information even in a case of logical corruption. However, using a data recovery tool to undelete a file just erased from the Recycle Bin is plain simpler, faster and far easier than obtaining the same file from a backup. If you have a working backup policy in your organization, a simpler, easier undelete tool may come handy – such as Hetman Uneraser.

Oleg Afonin

Author: , Technical Writer

Oleg Afonin is an expert in mobile forensics, data recovery and computer systems. He often attends large data security conferences, and writes several blogs for such resources as xaker.ru, Elcomsoft and Habr. In addition to his online activities, Oleg’s articles are also published in professional magazines. Also, Oleg Afonin is the co-author of a well-known book, Mobile Forensics - Advanced Investigative Strategies.

Vladimir Artiukh

Editor: , Technical Writer

Vladimir Artiukh is a technical writer for Hetman Software, as well as the voice and face of their English-speaking YouTube channel, Hetman Software: Data Recovery for Windows. He handles tutorials, how-tos, and detailed reviews on how the company’s tools work with all kinds of data storage devices.

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