The Best Steps to RAID 5 Data Recovery

Raid 5 Data Recovery

A RAID, or redundant array of independent disks, is a unique method of storing the identical data in various places for redundancy, on multiple hard disks. The process overlaps input/output operations in a balanced way to improve performance. By storing all crucial, confidential or necessary data this way to increase redundancy also increases the ability of fault tolerance. Out of all of the available configurations, RAID tends to be the most popular. However, when a RAID 5 fails, problems arise, creating an orphan and you now need a Raid 5 Data Recovery solution.


There are specific symptoms of trouble that require RAID 5 data recovery to bring the server back online, a RAID is likely in trouble if any of the following conditions exist. They include:

• An array that will not boot

• A total loss of all data

• A breakdown of the system

• An unusable or missing partition

• In inaccessible array


To begin the process of RAID 5 data recovery will first require the determination of all the parameters of the RAID 5 configuration. The configuration of the RAID 5 array consists of:

• The total number of its disks

• The disk sequence

• The block size used in the RAID 5 array

• The offset where the array data started

• The parity pattern used

• If the RAID 5 array had a delayed parity pattern, the pattern will need to be determined

• The determination of where any spare blocks are located in either a RAID 5E or RAID 5EE

Determining Parameters

The parameters of a RAID 5 array can be determined both automatically and manually. If the RAID 5 configuration will be recovered manually, it can quickly become a tedious and long process requiring unique technical skills.

An Intact Array

Damage creating of loss of data to the logical structures of an intact RAID 5 array is often viewed as “logical” damage of just one disc. As an example, should a file be deleted from any by them that resides on a RAID 5 array, it can usually be recovered using traditional undelete software.

A Broken Array

Because all of the parity data located on a RAID 5 array survives the failing of a single disk, it makes the entire array “fault-tolerant.” Any disc that fails can be hot swapped (replaced), and any data located on a disk rebuilt by copying parity information. In some incidences, due to varying circumstances, this process fails. During this type of failure, all the discs will contain valuable data that cannot be accessed, except through reputable RAID 5 data recovery software.

In fact, RAID 5 data recovery software can treat each separate disk as though it is a single array. This will enable the user to reconfigure the RAID 5 parameters to obtain all the information it requires to recover the data. Even so, because of the knowledge level required to determine parameter sets, the RAID 5 data recovery software should be written to detect parameters including rotation and stripe size.

The Process of a Successful Recovery

When using an effective RAID 5 data recovery software program, it can virtually re-create the array to recover the data. It does this by scanning the structures of the file system to create a virtual file system where the data is recovered.

The most successful recovery results from determining a variety of conditions that could include:


• Detection of the appearance of any bad sectors located on one or more drives

• Detection of corruption or destruction of the RAID 5 controller

• Detection of corruption of the RAID 5 partition table

• Detection of corruption or virus attack of the array

• A server crash

• A re-partitioned or re-formatted drive in the array

• Detection of damage caused by a power surge

Manual Recovery

RAID 5, unlike RAID 0, stores its parity data in a redundant array. The parity rotation and position will need to be determined as well is retrieving all the information of the array’s old configuration. Two unique parameters will control parity placement including both its rotation and position. By assessing every array block, the blocks that appear unlike data will be the parity block.

Recovering Using Software

Automatic recovery minimizes the complexity and time consumption of manually recovering the information. In fact, RAID 5 data recovery software makes the process simple and quick.

Outsourcing the Process

In some incidences, RAID 5 data recovery is best accomplished by outsourcing it to a professional service. Using the proper tools and software, a professional recovery service can ensure that the data is not destroyed in the process of recovery. By using the proper tools, the service provider can ensure the likelihood of recovery of all crucial data, by correctly identifying and managing a RAID 5 striped set with parity.

If the hard drive system is experiencing any problems listed above including making an unusual noise, it is essential to turn it off as quickly as possible. The next step is to develop an effective RAID 5 data recovery plan to ensure the stored data on the hard disk is protected. This is because any further operation of the system could cause significant damage and destroy the existing crucial data.

Avoid attempting any simple DIY (do-it-yourself) recovery of the system. This is because a RAID 5 array is an extremely complex system, and if not handled properly, can only exacerbate the challenging issue. In many incidences, physical recovery of any damaged hard drive will require a specialized environment (clean room) and/or a proper data recovery solution to achieve optimal results.

When outsourcing the problem to a service provider, it is essential to note any odd, unique or unusual behavior of the system’s RAID 5 array. This will help during the assessment process, to determine the most effective solution for recovery, and minimize damaging the data beyond repair or recovery.

The RAID 5 array was designed as a redundant solution for managing and safeguarding crucial data on a stack of hard drive disks. When working properly, it is an efficient system. However, when it fails, it requires the best RAID 5 data recovery solution to ensure that the information remains protected until recovered.

More from Wikipedia.