netcurmudgeon (netcurmudgeon) wrote,

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Detour to nowhere

I spent the bulk of my day today working with Mark-my-unindicted-co-conspirator trying to rescue the data off of a Dell storage appliance that had fallen on hard times. Over the weekend it dropped off the network. There was some fun trying to locate the box yesterday, as none of the server crew rememberd that my crew had relocated it from the BoE's server room to the MDF over Christmas week (a move mandeted by the great ATM-to-gigabit upgrade).

The box (a headless Win2k-powered appliance with 4 x 40GB IDE drives) had a failed disk, which shouldn't have pooched it, but did. We tried everything to get the data back. The data consisted of hours of digital video created by the school district's video guy -- who we have been needling to get his own storage and get his video off of this one-of-a-kind given-to-us-by-Dell-as-a-promo no-we-don't-back-this-up box. It had an internal PCI slot, so we jury-rigged a PCI VGA card into it so that we could at least see what was going on (though we had no way of attaching either a keyboard or mouse). That got us the information that one of the four drives was bad.

Working from there, we prepped a PC with a SCSI card and SCSI disk, loaded Win2k Server on the SCSI drive, then attached the four IDE drives from the storage box to the PC. Oh, we got so close. We could see the partitions on the drives. Windows even recognized the RAID5 volume with all of the video data on it. But in the end, that was as far was we got. We could get Windows to reactiviate the RAID set, but then it told us that the partition on the RAID set was "raw" (would you like to format this partition?).

So, we sent an appologetic note off to the end-user and Mark set about looking up pricing from data-recovery outfits. Sometimes even the mightiest of Cowboy Networking can't bring that lost steer in from the range.

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