Worst Of The Worst
In very rare cases, platters are removed from hard drive assemblies. In situations such as fire or water damage, the platters must be cleaned using a media sanitation system that DriveSavers says is proprietary.
The company also says that there are situations where platter damage is too severe and data cannot be recovered. In the case of fire damage, heat may have warped, or scorched the platters. With water-damaged hard drives, impurities in the water settle on the platter surface and, if left to dry, can create hard water spots that bond to the platter surface. Fortunately, only a small portion of DriveSavers business is disaster-related.
After cleaning is complete, any minor water spots that remain on the platter must be carefully removed. Due to the water-damage and corrosion, no parts from the original hard drive can be salvaged. This is a true transplant. Therefore, the platters must be mounted inside an identical model drive to complete the recovery.
Four techs are better than one. A typical recovery job will pass through the hands, on average, of four DriveSavers cleanroom engineers. Some engineers specialize in the disassembly and rebuilding of drives, others focus their attention on the cloning process.
DriveSavers says that all of its cleanroom engineers receive specialized training in advanced hard disk drive design principals and concepts, HDD firmware programming, advanced data recovery strategies, including vendor-specific information, and recovery procedures.
Checking The Work
A high-powered microscope is used to re-check the media for water spots or debris before the drive is rebuilt. Once the platter surface is restored to pristine condition, the data is imaged onto a target drive.
Let The Recovery Begin
After cleanroom engineers finish the imaging process, the data recovery is completed. Logical engineers work in the file systems; edit and rebuild damaged directory structures, recover and check the critical files, verify the recovery, and double-check for viruses before data is returned.
DriveSavers is SAS 70 Type II-certified, which means the company has undergone and passed an audit conducted by an outside source. Meeting SAS 70 Type II criteria ensures that customer data is appropriately protected before, during, and after the data recovery process.
A Job Well-Done
It took DriveSavers three days to recover Robin's data from the previously-dead drive. When she received her recovered data she was naturally ecstatic.
Drive recovery isn't cheap (we didn't want to pry too much into this particular case study), but sometimes it's the only option when disaster strikes. Before hooking up with DriveSavers, we had never seen what the process entailed. Now it's certainly easier to appreciate the delicacy and care that goes into opening a disk up, handling its media, and swapping out parts , all while keeping data intact. If you'd like to take a look at some of the company's more bizarre disaster recoveries, check out its online museum.