The Numbers Game: DriveSavers Utilizes SoftRAID for Data Storage

For industry-leading data recovery specialists DriveSavers, the recovery process is a numbers game of zeros and ones.

When a customer sends in a drive that is physically damaged, the company’s recovery engineers make an image of the binary code — those fundamental zeros and ones — that makes up the drive’s data. From there, DriveSavers Director of Engineering Mike Cobb says the team turns these raw numbers back into customer files.

“It’s kind of like a photocopy,” Cobb explains. “That way, whatever happens down the line, we don’t have to go back to the original damaged drive and try to retrieve it again.”

Those “photocopies” are crucial to the process of safely recovering lost data. Alongside those fundamental zeros and ones, a third number features heavily in the workflow at DriveSavers too — the number 5. As in RAID 5. Like countless other professionals, DriveSavers relies on SoftRAID’s unmatched RAID 5 capabilities.

RAID 5 for Peace of Mind, Performance, and Protection
DriveSavers works with the digital “photocopies” and recovered data on their active servers. It’s here where extreme data safety without sacrificing performance is paramount, so DriveSavers turns to SoftRAID. Because even the masters of data recovery have a backup plan.

“Our servers are temporary storage, so if there are circumstances where the data is held here internally for an extended period of time, that’s where SoftRAID comes in,” Cobb says. “We use SoftRAID because of its implementation of RAID 5 and because redundancy is built in.”

DriveSavers, along with countless other pros, relies on RAID 5 because it provides professional level performance along with data protection through parity. For each block of data in a RAID 5 configuration, a parity code is calculated and then stored across the other drives. If one drive fails, it can be replaced and its content can be restored, rebuilding the data from the parity information. SoftRAID delivers the most advanced and configurable software RAID 5, ideal for the kind of mission critical data protection that DriveSavers needs on a day-to-day basis.

“RAID 5 is incredibly vital to us because hard drives can and will fail. We want to have the best chance of getting around a failure if there is one. SoftRAID gives us that necessary assurance,” Cobb added.

Offloading data to a long-term, cold storage solution powered by SoftRAID also saves precious server space, which makes fiscal sense for DriveSavers.

“Right now we have over a petabyte of active storage, but that space is not unlimited for customer data,” Cobb said. “With SoftRAID, we can offload and consolidate that data into a fairly large data set that’s redundant and put it into a cold storage. It’s really about freeing up our servers, which saves costs.”

Certification Means Even More Data Safety
Because HDD manufacturers don’t test every sector on a disk before shipping, DriveSavers relies on SoftRAID’s Drive Certification feature to do the testing manufacturers don’t.

SoftRAID writes a random pattern out to every sector and then verifies the pattern to make sure every sector on the disk is working reliably.

Quickly and efficiently certifying every sector on every drive they use gives DriveSavers added confidence and prevents potential disaster.

“For drive certification, we’re verifying that the drives we’re using in SoftRAID are essentially free of sector flaws. We touch every sector and write patterns to all of them. We then read from every one of the sectors and verify that a drive is sound for a RAID environment and able to last a long period of time.”

If drives are flawed, SoftRAID helps DriveSavers find out why. And, SoftRAID Specialist Tech Support is there to help with any issue the DriveSavers team comes across. Detailed private reports are generated easily, so the SoftRAID Tech Support team sees exactly what the user is seeing.

“During drive certification, it’s common to find multiple failures,” Cobb said. “And we’ve worked with the SoftRAID tech support team to find out why these drives fail. SoftRAID makes it very easy to send the actual crash logs to Tech Support so you can diagnose problems very quickly. They’ve always done a great job.”

Second to None Data Loss Prevention
When it comes to data recovery, DriveSavers is second to none. The company’s motto is “We can save it!” and that’s proven every day by the highest data recovery success rate in the industry.

And while it’s a comforting thought that DriveSavers is there for the worst case scenario, preventing loss in the first place with the right RAID is the best way to keep your data safe. Because even the top data recovery experts have a backup plan.


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