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Data Recovery Systems

As companies become ever more reliant on electronic data storage, the need for a good recovery option is crucial. Data Recovery Services offers a way to get data back fast.

As companies become ever more reliant on electronic data storage, the need for a good recovery option is crucial. Data Recovery Services, with offices in Dallas, Houston and Washington, DC, as well as Australia and England, offers a way to get data back fast. Don Wells, vice president of technologies, talks about donors, black arts, and an unhappy bride.

What got you personally interested in this kind of work?

I think for me, it’s the “Black Art” type of technology that we have that intrigues me the most. It is very low level, very complex, and best of all, it is also extremely technique oriented. I like working in an environment of proprietary technologies and the engineering genius that I see everyday from our team. Unbelievable. Computer forensics is also very interesting and is big part of our business. It’s amazing what you can tell about a person just by studying their drive, it’s almost like crawling behind their eyes.

What kind of challenges do you face doing data recovery?

Obviously, staying up with current technology and finding talented people is an issue for all industries, but we excel at that. Drive manufacturers and inconsistencies from lot to lot is a big problem, especially when a “donor” is needed. That’s a drive that is needed for components and is required to come from the same production lot as the deceased. I’ve seen it take two months to find a matching drive before.

What are a couple of the common errors that people make in a data loss emergency?

I’m so glad that you asked this question. Everyone and their brother-in-law is a computer expert–or so they think. It seems that approximately 15 to 20 percent of all single drive systems that come to us are in for repartition/reformat issues. The root cause of this is the population being unfamiliar with OEM supplied utilities and restore CDs, bad advice from the local computer shop, and your brother-in-law.

Another problem with the would-be expert is to open their drive and look inside to see if they can fix something. This will contaminate the pristine environment of the media and can make the drive unrecoverable. When dealing with downed server RAID arrays, we find more often than not that the client has tried every controller BIOS option and various store bought utilities to try to bring the volume back on line and have achieved something they didn’t expect, an unrecoverable scenario. If you value the data on the media, then please stop and get professional help.

What’s the worst data loss case study that you have?

I think probably the worst situation we’ve encountered is the loss of data that could not be recreated. We had a client, a repeat client actually, that was a professional photographer that had done a wedding for someone he called the “Bride from Hell.” He told us she was the daughter of an organized crime leader. He was using an IBM Micro Drive in his camera and it failed shortly after the reception. He personally delivered the media to our Dallas facility looking like a ghost telling me if we didn’t get the data back that he was a dead man. Unfortunately, the media was physically damaged and could not be recovered. We never heard from him again.

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