RAID 0 Data Recovery

RAID 0, the lowest level of RAID, is one of the simplest RAID configurations. It provides the greatest boosts in performance. But it is also the RAID level with the least amount of fault tolerance and data protection. At Gillware, we offer financially risk-free RAID 0 data recovery services.

RAID 0 Infographic

What Is RAID 0?

The bigger your data storage needs, the more hard drives you need. But it’s awfully inconvenient to have a dozen separate hard drives storing your data. Fortunately for you, there’s a way to take those dozen hard drives and make them act like one giant hard drive. This is called a redundant array of independent disks, or RAID.

RAID 0 is commonly used by home users, and with two hard drives. A two-drive RAID 0 array is more than twice as fast as a single hard drive on its own, since it can perform multiple read/write operations simultaneously. RAID 0 generally suffers from diminishing returns the more drives there are in the array, though, so people with three or four drives or more are likely to use higher RAID levels with other features and benefits.

How RAID 0 Arrays Work

To make a RAID 0 array, you take your hard drives and stick them together. Whenever you write data to your RAID array, the data gets split up into blocks and divvied up among the drives in the array. This is called disk striping. Each block or stripe is usually 64 kilobytes. Every hard drive in the array is used to its full capacity. If you have three 8-terabyte Western Digital drives in a RAID 0 array, you have 24 terabytes of storage space.

Now, say you have your three-drive RAID 0. You want to write a 640-kilobyte file to the array. That RAID controller breaks it into 10 64-kilobyte blocks. (If the file were 653 KB, you’d have eleven blocks, with the last thirteen kilobytes in the eleventh one.) These 10 stripes go to the drives in the RAID-0. Drive 0 gets the first stripe. Drive 1 gets the second. Drive 2 gets the third. Drive 0 gets the fourth. And so on and so forth.

Later on, you open up your file. A single hard drive has to read each block containing the parts of your file one at a time. But in your RAID 0 array, all of the drives are working together, and you can read up to three data blocks simultaneously. Your three-drive RAID 0 array won’t be exactly three times faster than a single hard drive. But it will be noticeably faster than one hard drive on its own.

One of our RAID-0 recovery cleanroom engineers disassembling a hard drive for inspection.
One of our recovery cleanroom engineers disassembling a hard drive for inspection.

Free in-lab RAID 0 Recovery Evaluation

We always start with a free evaluation of your RAID 0 recovery situation. There are no upfront fees for any part of our services. We even offer to cover the cost of inbound shipping. With a prepaid UPS shipping label, you can send your crashed RAID 0 array to us at no cost.

Our RAID 0 data recovery engineers will take and assess every drive in the array. We send you a statement of work based on on the amount of damage and number of drives in the array. After evaluation, we know enough to present you with a firm price quote, estimated time for completion, and probability of success. If the terms of our recovery efforts are not to your liking, you are free to back out without paying us a dime.

Independent Analysis of Your RAID 0 Array’s Hard Drives

Each healthy drive is completely copied over to one of our secure internal customer data drives. Our custom-designed data recovery software makes full forensic write-blocked drive images for analysis. At no point do we ever perform forensic data recovery analysis on a customer’s original drive, or alter the data on the drive. We repair the hard drives as needed. Our engineers work hard to get as much of the failed hard drive(s) imaged as possible.

A depiction of a 640 KB file being broken up into ten blocks and written to a single hard drive and a three-drive RAID 0 array.
A depiction of a 640 KB file being broken up into ten blocks and written to a single hard drive and a three-drive RAID 0 array.

The RAID controller places special metadata on each drive in the array. Our engineers use this metadata to determine how the data fits together in the array. Our RAID 0 recovery computer scientists write custom software to arrange our images of the array’s hard drives. If any data is missing, our technicians work around the holes to give you the best recovery results possible.

We make certain that your critical data is as functional and uncorrupted as possible before we send you our bill. If necessary, we show you a list of recovered files so you can help us determine whether or not our efforts are successful. If we are unable to recover your critical data, you owe us nothing. The entire RAID-0 recovery process is financially risk-free.

The RAID 0 Data Recovery Procedure
If you’re dealing with a crashed RAID 0 array, our RAID 0 recovery technicians can help you. We solve hundreds of RAID recovery cases each year. Simply get in touch with one of our recovery client advisers to get started on the road to RAID recovery.

Reuniting You with Your Data

We send your data back to you after your RAID 0 data recovery has been completed and paid for. We never hold on to your recovered data for very long. In the interest of security, we wipe all of your recovered data from our internal customer data drives after you have had a chance to verify that your recovered data works. Normally, we hold onto your data for five business days after you receive your data. Then, we securely erase your data using our drive sanitizer.

RAID 0’s Shortcomings

RAID 0 seems great if you’re a speed demon. Every drive in the array increases your storage space and boosts your read/write speeds. But there’s a catch.

Other RAID levels, like RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 6, and RAID 10, use up some of their drives’ storage capacity to provide data redundancy. If one hard drive in the array fails, there’s at least one other drive to step in. These RAID levels sacrifice some efficiency and storage space for fault tolerance.

But RAID 0 makes no compromises in its pursuit of speed, making these arrays likely to fail. But if you are a speed demon, you shouldn’t be using spinning disk media anyway: Solid-state drives are much faster, and are becoming more affordable every year.

Take another look at your three-drive RAID 0. Imagine one of the three drives stops working. There’s a lot of reasons this could happen. Maybe there was a power loss. Or the drive’s read/write heads wore out. Or the drive’s firmware got a bug. There are a lot of different ways a hard drive can fail. If you’re very unlucky, a disaster might cause more than one drive to fail at once.

Now, one out of every three data stripes across your RAID 0 array is missing. The larger a file is, the more “holes” it will have. Parts of the file definitions and filesystem metadata will be gone as well. No matter how many drives you have in your RAID 0 array, it only takes one failure to bring the whole thing down. Whoever coined the ancient proverb “A chain is only as strong as its weakest link” wasn’t talking about RAID 0. But they might as well have been.

Your data is more at risk in a RAID 0 array than any other type of RAID array. In fact, our CEO Brian Gill doesn’t even consider RAID 0 to be a true RAID at all, since it offers a negative amount of redundancy. A two-drive RAID 0 is actually more than twice as likely to crash as a single drive, because not only have you doubled your chance at drive failure, but the RAID controller itself could fail as well.