• Posted on: 2/29/2012

    Tape Backup Recovery

    If you've ever tried to pop a VHS tape into your high-definition, flat-screen TV, you'll quickly see that the technologies aren't compatible. VHS tapes never produced the best-quality images, but when you try to view them on today's HDTV models, the result is barely watchable.

    Many companies still use tape (of a different kind) to back-up their mission critical data. Will this technology soon be as obsolete as VHS tapes for movies and TV shows? We're not going to see the end of tape any time soon, but there are several drawbacks that you don't find with other data backup systems.

    Drawbacks to Tape-based Back-up Systems 

    1. Data on magnetic tapes can be easily erased. - If you place a back-up data tape too close to a magnetic source (like a computer hard drive), or if you touch the delicate tape, you can render the data unreadable. In many cases, a professional data recovery firm like 24 Hour Data can access the lost or damaged data. But your back-ups are supposed to be there to protect you in the event of a data loss emergency -- not pile another emergency on to your first data recovery emergency!

    2. Tapes can be lost or stolen - If your company is transporting data tapes off-site for remote storage, which is data back-up best practices, you're putting mission critical, and often secure, data in the hands of people you don't know. Many times, tapes have “disappeared” en route to the storage facility. To make the situation worse, data stored on back-up tapes is often not encrypted, which means an organization that is responsible for storing people's financial data must disclose the loss of that data, facing potential lost business, angry customers, possible lawsuits, and a public relations nightmare.

    3. Off-site storage could make it difficult to recover lost data in a timely manner. - While off-site storage is a data back-up best practices to protect your mission critical data from localized disasters such as fires or floods, in the event of a regional disaster (like a hurricane or earthquake), accessing your data back-up tapes could take more time than you'd like if you are anxious to return to business as usual. In some cases, accessing lost data through remote tape back-ups can take longer than simply calling a data recovery firm to recover lost data from the original source.

    Is It Time to Switch Back-up Methods?

    If you're currently using tape back-ups, it's true that any back-up is better than no back up at all. But consider switching to a cloud-based data back-up system. Tape back-ups will still be around for a while; they're not going the way of the dinosaur (or VHS) any time soon, if only because it takes many companies a long time to make a move.

    But today's back-up methods are more reliable, less expensive, and can permit you to access your data faster and more easily. If you're still using tape, it may be time to consider alternatives.

    Too Late? Need Emergency Data Recovery?

    So what happens if your company's RAID server fails and you can't access your tape back-ups? Don't panic. We've still got your back. Know that, whatever kind of data emergency you face, 24 Hour Data has trained data recovery specialists on staff to recover your lost data in a timely manner, regardless of the storage format


  • Posted on: 2/27/2012

    Virtual Recovery

    Virtualization -- the creation of virtual servers to maximize data storage and improve efficiency -- has many benefits. But there are certain vulnerabilities inherent in a virtual operating system. Understanding these vulnerabilities, and following best practices when a virtual server is established, can minimize the chances that you'll need emergency data recovery services.

    Here are five ways to take good care of your virtual servers so that they will take good care of you.

    1 - Practice “good housekeeping” with your virtual servers.

    When your IT staff practices proper maintenance and care with virtual servers, this minimizes the chances of a failure requiring professional data recovery services.

    One example of good housekeeping is avoiding “server sprawl.” Every virtual server that has been created should have a specific purpose, reason for being, and a clear record of its creation. 

    2 - Make sure staff is trained in the use of virtual server environments. - The front-end control panels of a virtual server environment can be very user-friendly, but proper training can help avoid accidental deletion of mission critical files -- or even a whole virtual machine file system.

    After all, 85 percent of the data recovery cases we see here at 24 Hour Data are due to user error. Proper training of anyone using your virtual machines can help your company avoid the need for emergency data recovery services. 

    3 - Restrict access. - Because virtual machines are easy to use once they are set up, employees may be tempted to make changes they are not authorized to make. Restrict access to your virtual servers with passwords and make sure employees can access only the apps they require to do their jobs.

    4 - Make sure your VMware is configured properly. - Loss of mission critical data often occurs when companies make the switch from experimental virtual servers to actual use. If the physical server or operating system experiences failure during the transition, this can result in the loss of data and the need for emergency data recovery services. Make sure your IT staff is well-prepared to handle any emergency during the transition to virtualization.

    5 - Back up your data. - It's especially important to have up-to-date back-ups in place when your company transitions to storage virtualization. But once the virtual system is in place, that doesn't mean your data is safe indefinitely. Snapshots performed by virtual servers protect your data to some degree, but you still need off-site data storage and you must make sure that the physical location where data is stored is secure and protected from theft and natural disasters. 

  • 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. 


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