By Barbara DePompa
, 1105 Government Information Group Custom Media
When Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina experienced an unpredictable backup failure, compromising access to every file on the squadron's 12-drive RAID server, the systems administrator turned to a backup and recovery services provider to rescue the base's valuable data.
At risk was crucial data backed up from 350 computers. Archives for the base housing office were at risk of permanent loss. This is information that Congress mandates to be kept in perpetuity. Vital training data, including fire safety as well as flight readiness records were also no longer accessible. Without these vital records, Air Force students would be required to repeat training, which would have caused delays and increased training costs as well.
“The crash happened in stages, and I thought that I could initially solve the problem myself,” said Dean Johnson, systems administrator for the Civil Engineering Squadron at Shaw AFB. “But, when the Adaptec system controller failed, I stopped my recovery efforts immediately. I knew that if I fired up a new controller and it started a new array, I could kiss my data goodbye.”
After a recommendation from Adaptec system officials, Shaw AFB turned to DriveSavers for help. The drives were sent to DriveSavers and analyzed in its certified ISO 5 clean room. While the storage subsystems was initially thought to be a RAID 5 array, which would have allowed rebuilding of the system using data stored on a spare drive, it was discovered that that the drive subsystem was actually configured as RAID 0 with data striped across all 12 drives. DriveSavers' engineers were able to unravel the challenge of the unknown order of the drives, and recover a full 45 GB of the most-wanted data. “The value of the recovered data far exceeded the cost of recovery,” said Johnson. “If the data wasn't recovered, we would have been illegal in the eyes of our major command, and eventually it could have gone up to Washington, D.C.”
DriveSavers has successfully recovered critical data for government agencies including Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Center and the Smithsonian Institute.