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How can I recover data from RAID 0 and JBOD?

Non-RAID drive architectures, like JBOD or RAID 0, are highly popular among computer users who need to increase the capacity of their storage systems at an affordable rate. Such arrays are easy to implement and do not involve any overhead – the storage space of multiple disks is combined and can be utilized as a single logical unit. Yet, the lack of redundancy blocks and other drawbacks make them quite risky in terms of data safety. Apart from disk failures, there are numerous logical issues, such as corruption, software crashes or human errors, that commonly result in the loss of certain files or even a complete data disaster.

Although these configurations are similar in that neither of them offers fault-tolerance, disks constituting the array are put together with the help of different storage techniques that have a major impact on the possibility of data recovery:

  • Striping

    Within a RAID 0 volume data is split into tiny blocks and written evenly across all the components of a set. Since parts of every individual file are located on different disks, the failure of a drive results in impossibility to recover the data. The only exception is small files whose size equals to the size of a single block, for instance, 64 KB. When there are more than two drives in a set, the size of such files may be up to the one calculated by the following formula: (N-1)*block_size (here N is the number of disks in the array). However, the original file names and the folder structure will be missing anyway and the portion of files may appear to be damaged – when at least one fragment of a file was located on the failed drive.

  • Spanning

    Spanning employed in JBOD is a simple concatenation of multiple physical disks that appear as a single logical volume without any separators. In view of this, disks constituting JBOD may be filled up sequentially from the first to the last one – under such circumstances, the failure of a single disk may leave the information on the remaining ones unaffected. Yet, in practice, the file system applied on a spanned volume if free to allocate any blocks available to it, so files are likely to be fragmented and scattered between different drives. The possibility of data recovery in this case depends on the algorithms employed by the corresponding file system and the intensity of writing – these are the primary factors that influence the consistency of data placement. Another critical factor is the possibility to read out the file system metadata, which is usually located on the first disk in the sequence.

In general, if one of the components in such a system is not functioning properly, complete data recovery is not possible until it gets repaired. Under such circumstances, it is recommended to contact qualified technicians in a specialized service center – DIY repair attempts are likely to be unsuccessful and may even lead to the total destruction of data.

Recover data from a non-redundant storage, such as RAID 0 and JBOD

If the problem is not associated with the failure of a member disk, a suitable data recovery tool will easily cope with data loss from RAID 0 or JBOD. SysDev Laboratories offers UFS Explorer and Recovery Explorer as reliable software instruments that work with complex storage systems of different levels and types, including the non-RAID drive architectures – RAID 0 and JBOD. The software is capable of reconstructing spanned or striped volumes for further operations by reading out the initial parameters of the storage from its metadata. In case of serious corruption of this information, the user can assemble the array manually from its disks or the substituting disk images. Either way, the software will emulate the work of the controller and mount the storage in the virtual mode, which guarantees full protection of the real one from any modifications.

RAID 0

To restore files from RAID 0 using UFS Explorer RAID Recovery, you will need to perform the following steps:

  1. Prepare a computer that will serve as a host for data recovery – it is preferable to use an incompatible operating system to prevent overwriting of the storage configuration. Install UFS Explorer onto this PC.

  2. Find a storage large enough to save the recovered data. This may be any internal, external or network location. Don’t use any of the source disks for this purpose.

  3. Attach all the drives constituting your striped volume to the computer following their accurate order. The optimal interface to employ is the internal SATA connectors, but in case of lack thereof you may also choose USB to SATA adapters or external enclosures. Yet, indirect types of connection usually slow down the process.

    Note: Please refer to the HOW TO section for detailed instructions as to the procedure of connecting the drives.

  4. Launch UFS Explorer RAID Recovery. If needed, adjust the software settings in the corresponding pane.

    UFS Explorer RAID Recovery

    Note: If you are going to work with disk images instead of the original devices, open the respective disk image files using the "Image file or virtual disk" option from the "Open" item in the main menu.

  5. Scroll down the list of connected storages in the left pane of the main screen:

    1. 5.1.1 If the metadata is present on the disks and wasn’t heavily damaged, your striped volume will be assembled automatically and displayed among other storages. You can identify it by the special icon, label or the number of drives.

    2. 5.2.1 If your storage wasn’t reconstructed by the program, you can build it manually from the connected disks or their images.

    3. 5.2.2 Create a new virtual RAID storage. For this click "Build RAID" in the main menu and add member drives (partitions) to it by double-clicking them or utilizing the corresponding option in the context menu.

      UFS Explorer RAID Recovery

    4. 5.2.3 Set the order of the drives with the help of the arrow-like buttons and choose RAID 0 in the configuration sheet. Provide the correct size of the stripe.

      UFS Explorer RAID Recovery

    5. 5.2.4 Once you have finished, press "Build this RAID".

      UFS Explorer RAID Recovery

      Note: If you have doubts concerning the order of disks or the stripe size, you may make several reconstruction attempts to figure out the right setup. For this select “Edit RAID configuration” in the storage context menu, make the changes in the opened window of RAID builder and assemble the storage again.

  6. Open the volume mounted under the assembled storage and examine its file system. If it looks intact, the storage was built correctly and you can scan it for lost data. To do that use the respective button or the storage context menu option.

  7. Specify the necessary scan parameters or go ahead with the default ones and press "Start scan". Wait for the procedure to be completed.

  8. Explore the received result of scan: you may sort the files by name, date, type, employ quick or advanced search and preview images, texts, documents, etc.

  9. Click "Define permanent selection" and choose the items you want to copy by selecting them with checkmarks.

  10. Press "Save selection" and define the destination folder for the chosen items.

JBOD

To recover data from JBOD with the help of UFS Explorer RAID Recovery, you will need to complete the following:

  1. Get a computer that will run data recovery software. It is better to choose one with an incompatible OS to keep the storage configuration from being accidentally overwritten. Install UFS Explorer onto this computer.

  2. Prepare a storage to which you can copy the restored files – an internal/ external disk or a network folder. You can’t place the rescued data on any disk from the problem JBOD.

  3. Connect the drives constituting your spanned volume to the host PC in their correct order. If possible, employ the internal SATA connectors – using a direct type of connection will accelerate the process of recovery. You may also utilize USB to SATA adapters or external

    Note: Please refer to the HOW TO section for detailed instructions as to the procedure of connecting the drives.

  4. Open UFS Explorer RAID Recovery. If necessary, modify its settings in the respective pane.

    UFS Explorer RAID Recovery

    Note: If you are going to work with disk images instead of the original devices, open the respective disk image files using the "Image file or virtual disk" option from the "Open" item in the main menu.

  5. Browse through the tree of connected storages found in the left pane of the main window:

    1. 5.1.1 If the volume was reconstructed automatically, you will see it among other storages in the list. You can recognize it by the special icon, label or the number of disks.

    2. 5.2.1 If the software didn’t reconstruct your storage, you can assemble it by hand from the connected drives or opened disk images.

    3. 5.2.2 Create new virtual RAID by clicking "Build RAID" in the main menu. Add the components of your span by double-clicking them or using the corresponding option in the context menu.

      UFS Explorer RAID Recovery

    4. 5.2.3 Set the order of the drives with the help of the arrow-like buttons. As a rule, the first member disk will contain an intact volume while the content of the following ones will be identified as damaged. Select Span of storages in the parameters sheet.

      UFS Explorer RAID Recovery

    5. 5.2.4 Once you have finished, press "Build this RAID".

      UFS Explorer RAID Recovery

      Note: If you are not exactly sure concerning the drives order in your JBOD, make several reconstruction attempts to guess the correct one. For this choose “Edit RAID configuration” in the storage context menu, adjust the sequence and assemble the volume again.

  6. Select the volume located on the assembled JBOD and explore its file system. If the files seem undamaged, the storage was assembled correctly and can be scanned for the lost data. To begin the process, press the respective button or use the storage context menu option.

  7. Provide the desired scan settings or proceed with the default parameters. Click "Start scan" and wait until the procedure is finished.

  8. Inspect the obtained results: you may sort the files by name, date, type, employ quick or advanced search and preview images, texts, documents, etc.

  9. Press "Define permanent selection" and decide on the items you want to save. Select them with checkmarks.

  10. Click "Save selection" and set the destination location for the rescued items.

Last update: February 13, 2020

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