• Posted on: 2/24/2012

    Data Loss

     a commercial making the rounds right now, where a groom is getting ready for his wedding and, rather than offering him the typical well wishes, people tell him, “You're going to lose it all today.” He hears this from his father, his best man, and even the limo driver.

    You begin to wonder what they mean as the look of trepidation on the groom's face begins to grow. The tagline bears the message that data loss occurs without warning; you never know when or where it may happen.

    This is absolutely true but, like other disasters, including natural disasters like hurricanes, floods or fires, there are ways you can be prepared for data loss caused by hard drive failure or other events.

    You can't tell exactly when data loss may occur, but here are three ways to make sure you're not caught completely blindsided when it does happen -- and can possibly prevent the complete loss of your mission critical data, whether it's important operating and financial files for your business or simply your family photos (including those wedding pictures!)

    1. Pay attention to your computer's “normal” operations and especially if something seems abnormal. - Are read/write cycles taking longer than they used to? Is your computer making clicking or whirring sounds, or does it just sound louder than usual? These could be signs of impending hard drive failure.

    2. Make sure your files are backed up. - As the commercial advises, data back-up in the cloud may give you access to your mission critical files from anywhere in the world if you experience hard drive failure or data loss due to an on-site natural disaster. Even so, there may be lag-time between your last back-up and the creation of new data that you need to continue running your business -- or your life!

    3. Have the phone number for a data recovery service you can trust handy at all times. - Don't rely on being able to access the Internet or your smart phone when you need a data recovery service. Keep the toll-free phone number for 24 Hour Data (866-598-DATA) handy near your computer. We'll also want to know the make and model of your hard drive and, if available, the serial number. All of this information will make it easier for our data recovery experts to recovery your lost data quickly and efficiently, so you can get back to business as usual. 

  • Posted on: 2/21/2012

    RAID Recovery

    When RAID arrays were first proposed by the minds at Berkeley in the 1980s, there were five levels of RAID array. Today, researchers and manufacturers have devised other variations of RAID levels, but the original five are considered, by purists, “true” levels of RAID.

    Of course, there's also RAID “0,” which many experts don't consider to be a RAID array but it's worth discussing in this context. Read on to find out more about the five levels of RAID, plus one level that really isn't.

    RAID 0 - RAID stands for Redundant Array of Independent (or Inexpensive) Drives. Therefore, RAID 0, which contains no redundancy, isn't really a RAID level. RAID 0 stripes data across two or more drives, providing the best storage efficiency and fast performance, but no protection against data loss. 

    RAID 1 - RAID 1 provides the best protection against disk failure since all data is mirrored on an identical drive. A RAID 1 array needs at least two hard drives, and can use as many drives as you'd like, always added in pairs.

    RAID 2 - RAID 2 has fallen out of use since it tends to be more complicated than other RAID levels; it uses a combination of data disks and Error Correcting Code disks to protect against data loss.

    RAID 3 - RAID 3 stripes data across a number of disks, using a separate parity disk for data redundancy. RAID 3 provides flexible storage capacity since you can use a large number of drives in the array, as long as you have at least three. A RAID 3 array can survive the loss of any one drive in the array. The parity disk tends to slow down write speeds, but even with this loss of performance, RAID 3 has become a popular choice for many applications.

    RAID 4 - RAID 4 employs similar methods to RAID 3, but uses block level striping rather than byte level striping for data distribution. This permits users to change the stripe size for more efficient data storage. Because of its good fault tolerance, RAID 4 is also a common choice.

    RAID 5 - RAID 5 is one of the safest, most secure, and fastest RAID levels available, making it one of the most popular solutions for file servers, databases and other data storage needs.

    Unlike RAID 3 and RAID 4, level 5 RAID distributes parity across the drives and employs block level striping for better performance. RAID 5 can tolerate the failure of one drive without the need for emergency data recovery services. 

  • Posted on: 2/17/2012

    Virtual recovery

    As VMware grows in popularity, so do replication processes and applications. Like a RAID server that relies on redundancy, replicating the data on your virtual machine is one form of on-site back-up. The ease with which you can replicate data from one virtual machine to another, creating an easy-to-access back-up, makes virtual machines more secure and less susceptible to the need for emergency data recovery. 

    However, to get the most out of your virtual server, you'll want to follow virtual machine replication best practices.

    1- Make sure a dedicated network connects your production and disaster recovery site so that you can access your data in the event of virtual machine failure and data recovery emergency. 

    2 - Make sure replication is completed frequently, so you'll always have up to date back-ups available in the event of an emergency. VmWare vSphere's new vStorage APIs for Data Protection offer nearly continuous data protection (CDP).

    3 - Make sure you have the right apps to access and transfer replicated data to a host machine following a virtual machine failure. 

    4 - Make sure to quiesce the data at the application level to avoid data loss. This process pauses the operating system and applications and forces the data in memory to be written to disk. When this is done at the application level, the chances of having incomplete data transfer or corrupt files is reduced.

    5- Make sure you have off-site back-ups of your mission critical data. If you replicate your data to another VMware machine, housed in the same place as your virtual server, you risk losing your data to fire, floods or theft. Remote replication at a secure DR site reduces the chances that you'll need emergency data recovery services should a disaster occur at your server location.

  • Posted on: 2/15/2012

    Flash Recovery

    Storage media leaders Toshiba and Sandisk, operating under the funding of a joint venture called Flash Forward, have announced the opening of a new factory in Mie Prefecture, Japan, devoted to the manufacture of NAND flash memory. Fab 5 is located at Toshiba's Yokkaichi Operations and is the third 300mm wafer NAND fabrication facility under the corporate umbrella.

    Meanwhile, hard disk drive, flash memory, laptop, and smartphone (among other things) manufacturer Samsung announced plans to build a new, $4 billion flash memory plant in China to support the growth of the industry, as well.

    As the prevalence of flash memory grows, fueled by the popularity of smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices, these factories will help industry leaders keep pace with developments and production. 

    24 Hour Data Keeps Up with Flash, Too

    At 24 Hour Data, our data recovery specialists are working 24/7 to stay up to date on developments in flash memory and the latest data recovery methods to recover lost data from these sensitive chips.

    Although not as susceptible as hard disk drives or RAID arrays, flash memory can fall victim to data corruption, read/write errors, physical damage such as water or fire damage and the ever-popular user error, that is, accidentally deleting important files.

    With so much crucial data stored on your flash memory cards, whether in your smartphone or on your netbook or iPad, it's important to have a data recovery service you can trust to recover your lost data.

    We have the highest data recovery success rate for hard disk drive recovery, and our flash drive recovery rate, although we haven't sampled it lately, is close to that, as well. Don't leave your flash memory in the hands of amateurs who aren't experts in data recovery from all devices. Call 24 Hour Data at the first sign of data loss. 

  • Posted on: 2/13/2012

    RAID Recovery

    As the costs of RAID drives drop even lower and storage capacities for hard disk drives exceed 1 TB, more and more small businesses and home users are incorporating RAID arrays into their data storage methods. RAID arrays can be used as home media servers, to expand storage capabilities across a home or a small business network, and to boost performance while enhancing the security of data stored on the server.

    The top choice for many home and professional users is a RAID 5 array, which typically employs a controller for even better performance.

    While most RAID levels provide either greater storage capacity, or enhanced security and better performance, a RAID 5 array offers greater storage capacity with storage striped across four or more disk drives, along with decent speed and data protection. 

    RAID 5 is not as secure as RAID 1, which employs mirroring for redundancy, or as fast as RAID 0, but it offers enough of each that it is one of the most popular levels of RAID. 

    A RAID 5 server can use three, four or five hard disk drives for data storage and parity. Parity is the means by which a RAID 5 array duplicates data so that if one hard disk in the array fails, the rest of the array can carry on without problems.

    However, it's always smart to swap out a failed drive and to watch the other drives in your RAID array carefully after one fail. Drives only operate for a certain number of read/write cycles. When one drive fails, others usually follow. If more than one drive in your RAID 5 array fails, you'll need emergency data recovery services to recover lost data.

    24 Hour Data has experts in all levels of RAID recovery on staff to provide you with a free diagnostic within 24 hours and excellent chances at full data recovery. 

  • Posted on: 2/09/2012

    Data Recovery

    If you're a business owner faced with data loss, your first instinct might be to panic. If your IT staff fails at their attempts to retrieve lost data, you may call a data recovery service to help. But it's important to stop, take a breath, and consider data recovery in the same light as any other investment you make in your business.

    If you're running a business that relies on 24-7 computer operations, such as an online e-commerce website, every second counts. Don't attempt do-it-yourself data recovery, even with a well-trained IT staff. Not only does this waste time,  it could result in rendering your mission critical data irretrievable.

    If you're a business owner using your computers internally, and your business won't stop dead with one hard drive failure, you may have a little more time to think. In either case, it's important not to panic. (Did we mention that before?)

    First, consider your back-ups. When was the last back-up performed? How quickly and inexpensively can you recover this data? Is this good enough? 

    If it's been days, or, in some cases, even hours since your last data back-up, this may not be good enough for your business. You may require complete data recovery up to the minute your system failed. Then it's time to call a data recovery service. Be ready to provide information such as the make and model of your storage device, how and when the data loss occured, and what happened just prior to the data loss or hard drive failure.

    Cost-Benefit Analysis for Data Recovery

    What's the likelihood the data can be retrieved by an expert data recovery firm? And what's the projected cost? With 24 Hour Data, there's no risk, because there's no charge if we can't recover the lost data.

    Once you receive your free diagnostic and learn the likelihood of whether or not your data can be recovered, it's time to perform a quick cost/benefit analysis. How much will the lost data cost, in regard to the time to replicate it, man-hours, and potential lost business?

    With these two figures in your mind -- the cost of retrieving your data vs. the cost of not retrieving that data -- only you can determine whether or not it's time for data recovery. 

    When you know you're on the phone with a company you can trust, you'll be able to make the determination and rest easy whatever you decide. 


  • Posted on: 2/06/2012

    Data Recovery

    Approximately 85 percent or higher of the data recovery cases we see here at 24 Hour Data are due to user error. The national statistics say about 87 % of all data loss is caused by user error, so our customers are no different in that regard than the rest of the population. (Of course, we like to believe they're a lot smarter for choosing 24 Hour Data as their data recovery service!)

    How can you become even smarter, still, and avoid accidentally deleting, damaging or corrupting the important files that store your critical data? Here are a few tips.

    1 - Password protect your computer, phone, MacBook, iPad or tablet PC. - A simple-to-remember but difficult (for others) to guess password can protect your files from accidental or malicious deletion by children or even just friends who aren't very tech-savvy. With the right passwords on your computer, at least you know if your files get deleted, you only have yourself to blame.

    2- Slow down and look twice. Most computers require two steps (an action and a confirmation) before you can successfully delete a file. Think twice before you “empty the garbage pail” on your Mac. What's in there? Can everything really be deleted?

    3 - Don't shut down your computer in the middle of a operation. - If you turn off your computer without following proper procedures, any open files, and especially files that are in a read/write state, are at risk of deletion or corruption, rendering them inaccessible. Always shut down properly and make sure all your important files are saved and closed.

    4- Use the Autosave function. - It may interrupt your thought-flow and take a few seconds, but using the Autosave function on your Excel, Word, or other applications can be a lifesaver. In the event of a hard drive crash, autosave may not allow you to recover all your data, but you might get enough of it that you can resume work without losing much time. 

    5 - Don't attempt to recover lost or deleted data yourself. If you don't know what you're doing, using third party software or other techniques to recover lost or deleted files could actually erase those files forever. When you get that sick feeling in your stomach because you realized you just hit delete when you didn't mean to, call 24 Hour Data right away. The odds that we can perform a logical recovery very quickly -- and at a lower price than you might expect -- are good.

    We live to save the day here at 24 Hour Data; let us do our jobs. And most importantly, don't feel bad about it. About 85 to 87 percent of our customers have called us for the same reason.


  • Posted on: 2/02/2012

    RAID Recovery

    A RAID array can offer a boost in performance, an enhancement in storage capacity or greater data stability through redundancy, at a lower cost than using separate drives.

    Depending on which level of RAID array you choose, you'll either get enhanced performanced and redundancy or enhanced storage capacity, but a few levels, including RAID 4 and RAID 5, offer benefits in all aspects.

    RAID 4 and RAID 5 arrays achieve better stability and security of data through a process called parity. Parity is sometimes confused with the mirroring that takes place in a RAID 1 array, where the contents of the drive are duplicated on a second drive. In a RAID 1 array, if one drive fails the array can go on, business as usual.

    Parity saves money by providing the same level of redundancy as mirroring at 1/20 of the cost on a five-drive array. This drops to 25 percent if you use four disks, and 33 percent if you use three, but it's still less expensive than the one-to-one added cost of a RAID 1 array. Note that you need at least three drives for a RAID 4 or RAID 5 array, which both use parity. Don't confuse the number of drives with the RAID level.

    Instead of mirroring all the data on each disk onto another identical disk, as in a level 1 RAID array, the RAID 5 controller stripes parity data across all the drives. If a RAID disk drive fails, the RAID array controller will re-write the parity across the remaining drives, providing the stability and redundancy that is so appealing in a RAID array.

    In a RAID 4 array, parity is confined to one drive in the array rather than striped across all the hard disk drives. 

    If more than one disk drive fails in your RAID 4 or RAID 5 array, you'll need professional data recovery to reconstruct parity and recover your RAID data.

    24 Hour Data employs experts in RAID data recovery for all RAID levels, with recovery success rates that are well above the industry standards. We offer affordable pricing and a free diagnostic within 24 hours of receiving your RAID array. 

    Click here to learn more about our RAID data recovery processes and how we can help you recover lost data from your RAID 4 or RAID 5 server. 

  • Posted on: 1/30/2012

    VM Recovery

    NexGen Storage, a Louisville, Colo. company, recently introuced a new virtual machine storage system that combines the benefits of solid state drives (SSDs) and hard disk drives (HDDs) and makes it easier to set up storage for virtualized servers for organizations running mission-critical applications.

    The NexGen n5 Storage Systems apply granular Quality of Service (QoS) levels to let users provision performance the same way they provision capacity. It does this by partitioning storage in blocks across three tiers: RAM, PCIe SSDs, and hard disks. Users can provision 30,000 IOPS for mission-critical apps, 25,000 IOPS to business critical apps, and a slower 5,000 IOPS to non-critical apps. As NexGen VP of Marketing Chris McCall explains, “We are saying, 'Just tell us how fast you need to go.'”

    The n5 Storage System uses a staged data deduplication process called Phased Data Reduction so that deduplication does not affect performance, according to the manufacturer, resulting in faster processing speeds and less interruption of applications.

    Storage Capacity of the NexGen n5

    The n5 system includes:

    - two 640 TB PCIe solid state storage cards from Fusion-io

    - 48GB of RAM

    - 32 TB of SAS drives

    Optional 640 GB SSD performance packs and 32 TB SAS capacity packs are also available for greater scalability. The NexGen n5 storage system is a 3U iSCSI Storage Area Network and includes a choice of 16 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) or four 10 GbE ports.

    Experts in Virtualization and Virtual Data Recovery

    As the need for virtual machines for mission critical applications grows, tiered service based on performance gives business owners even more options.

    But as virtual machines grow more complex, with multiple types of storage devices on one SAN, knowing who you can trust when a drive fails is even more critical. 24 Hour Data is constantly spending time in our R&D labs to develop the latest data recovery techniques for today's new virtualization technology.

  • Posted on: 1/26/2012

    Cloud Recovery

    If we had to pinpoint two of  biggest trends for 2011, which we expect to continue and expand in 2012, it would be virtualization and cloud storage. 

    If you're new to the IT world, or are responsible for managing an IT staff but don't know much about it yourself, the two terms may confuse you. Some people mistakenly use the words interchangably, but they're not the same thing at all.

    Defining Cloud Storage

    Cloud storage is simply storage “in the cloud,” or via the Internet. When you put your data in the cloud, though, it still resides on a server somewhere. Cloud storage is considered one of the safest forms of data storage, since your data is protected off-site, housed on servers with much better security and better protection against natural disasters, shock or power surges, than most individuals can provide.

    However, data “in the cloud,” is still on someone's server. And no storage media is completely secure or safe from failure. Make sure to keep back-ups of your data in another format, just in case your data becomes inaccessible for any reason. 

    Defining Virtualization

    Virtualization is something else entirely, and has little do with the Internet -- although you can certainly have a virtual machine using cloud storage. When you have a virtual machine, you (or, more accurately, your IT staff) create a separate Operating System, or multiple Operating Systems, on one server. It's like a machine within a machine. Virtualization improves storage capacity and processing speeds. You can click here to read more about virtualization and its benefits. 

    However, if your VMware machine should crash, it requires experts in data recovery to navigate the complicated landscape of a virtual machine and recover your mission critical data.

    We hope we've cleared up some confusion regarding these two common IT terms; we know you'll be hearing a lot more about them in 2012.



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