I’ve been in this business a long, long time and I’ve worked for reseller/consultants as well as in IT in private business.  In that time I’ve had more than my fair share of heart attacks while at a customer site or at a company location, said heart attacks caused by some seemingly disastrous screw up with the technology.  In all but two cases I’ve never been faced with what looked like unrecoverable data loss.

The first case was years ago when I was IT manager for a large company in the interior of British Columbia.  We had installed a new “state of the art” disk array of our Sun E450 server and had just run through the first month end of PeopleSoft AP when the array blew out a controller and messed up all sorts of disks.  After the array vendor fixed things (2 1/2 days later) we came up against a bug in the Oracle bits of the backup (I’ve forgotten the backup vendor, I think it was NetBackup) and we could not pull data back.  Sheer panic ensued until Oracle found the bug in the backup recovery routine and we got our data back some 36 hours later.  I probably aged 10 years in that 36 hours.  However, we did recover our data and all was good.

The second case happened a week ago with one of our customers who ended up with a messed up NAS that held all of their accounting data.  For whatever reason, the NAS RAID went sideways and nothing could be accessed via the published shares.  We worked with the NAS manufacturer’s support and were able to mount the “source” disk from the NAS to a Windows box and we were able to copy data out then we rebuilt the NAS.  We thought we were in good shape but the customer informed us that all sorts of data was missing including critical accounting data for which no backups existed (please don’t ask ….).  No amount of digging on the drive would reveal any more data, we were stumped (and worried). 

I ended up getting in contact with ESS Data Recovery who have locations all over the US as well as a lab in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  Scott, the manager at the Toronto office, listened to my tale of woe and suggested we ship out the drive to them for inspection, they would let us know if they could help.  Well, to make a long story short, they helped!   Boy oh boy did they help!  Scott and his staff were able to recover what amounts to 100% of the needed user data from the drive.  It took a few days but we now have a customer who is operational again.  It wasn’t cheap by any means but the cost was well worth it.

We are now working with our customer to ensure something like this doesn’t happen again and I’ve been able to put the giant economy size bottle of Maalox back in the drawer.  While the problem should never have happened, it did, and it is a testament to the skills of companies like ESS that we have a happy customer. 

It is my fervent hope that you, dear reader, are never faced with this type of data loss but, if you are, my advice is to keep a level head, do NOT mess with the disk(s), and contact ESS for help.  So, there you have it, this is my blatant plug for one of the “good guys”.  Definitely five stars!  StarStarStarStarStar

Thanks for the data!
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