NAS Data Recovery Services

Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices are becoming more and more popular not only in enterprises, but also in medium-sized and smaller companies. Compared to servers on Intel platform, they are inexpensive, consume less electricity, and are easier to maintain even for a less experienced person. ACE Data Recovery has proven experience in recovering data not only from enterprise class storage systems such as DELL-EMC, HP, IBM but also from popular smaller appliances like those from Synology, Drobo, QNAP, Buffalo, Netgear, TerraMaster, WD and others.

Most NAS devices use various types of “smart” RAIDs for fault tolerance and data storage. Many manufacturers of NAS devices offer their own RAID management systems, which allow users to combine hard drives from different brands into rather complex RAID systems, without much knowledge of the RAID technology itself. This creates additional difficulties in data recovery, as it requires an individual approach to arrays of drives from different manufacturers.

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A majority of the commercial NAS devices run on customized versions of Linux and differ from regular computers because they do not have video outputs, and it is impossible to connect a keyboard and mouse to them. Therefore, that makes it impossible for data recovery programs to use direct access to disk space. That’s why ACE Data Recovery creates disk images, as professionals always do, using ZCOPY technology, and performs all data recovery operations from said images.

In its simplest form, the NAS consists of one or two hard drives and a network controller controlled by a Linux-based operating system. More complex devices consist of a file server with a disk array of 24 or more disks combined into RAID arrays (RAID 0, RAID 10, RAID 5, RAID 6 or ZRAID). The most commonly used file systems are Ext4, BTRFS, XFS, and ZFS.

NAS Recovery - Any Size, Any File System

In case of large capacity disks (often dozens of terabytes), any classical partition table handled by LVM won’t work. To ensure safety, ACE Data Recovery needs to evaluate the status of each drive in order to select the best methods for creating sector-by-sector copies. Making full copies is a compulsory step, although sometimes it doesn’t seem as important and is considered by some to be a process that only delays the data recovery procedure.

NAS Appliances data recovery

For partitions consisting of one segment, the procedure for assembling arrays will not be any different from finding partitions on a regular RAID array. In the case of volumes with a lost (and often rewritten!) LVM partitions tables, which consists of 2 or more fragments, additional steps will be required:

  • Building a map of logical volumes consisting of one segment by recording the range of sectors occupied by the volume on the partition.
  • Building a partition map of the first segments of fragmented volumes – it is necessary to accurately identify the location of the section break. This procedure is much simpler if the exact extent size used by LVM is known, but significant resources and special skills are required if the table is lost.

Specific features of NAS-technologies make it possible to operate without a specialized RAID controller. Data processing, work of the operating system, and network connections are performed by the device itself and its processor. And this excessive system load is the direct cause of the most problems associated with NAS-drives.

Speaking of the shortcomings of NAS-storage, we can easily make a list of which problems tend to be the most significant:

  • Firstly, the system does not have a very high reliability. An ordinary reboot after flashing the device may result in data loss from the disk space of the drive.
  • NAS systems can become corrupt due to power failure, voltage fluctuations or overvoltage. RAID arrays inside the NAS are particularly vulnerable, as voltage fluctuations can cause individual disks to be out of sync resulting in a degraded or failed RAID array.
  • Also, the human factor should never be underestimated. The simplicity and ease of use of the NAS make them very popular, but often lead to problems that can’t be solved by inexperienced, non tech-savvy users.

Many of the NAS servers are equipped with recovery functionality, but it is applicable only to restoring various hardware and software components of the device itself. It can’t be used to restore user files. Therefore, a professional approach and professional tools are required here, which by definition, cannot be utilized by the ordinary user.

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Network-attached storage (NAS) is a file-level (as opposed to block-level storage) computer data storage server connected to a computer network providing data access to a heterogeneous group of clients. NAS are accessible over a network using an Ethernet connection and file protocols like SMB/CIFS (Server Message Block/Common Internet File System) or NFS (Network File System).

NAS is popular way of creating network file shares within an organization, where authorized personnel often collaborate on the same files or other forms of business information. It can also be used to keep a backup of files in case a local drive gives out and consolidate multimedia libraries, among other use cases where storing and trading files over a local network comes in handy.

Typically, the more high-end the NAS system, the more RAID configuration options are available. High end systems for larger organizations from the likes of Dell EMC, HPE, and NetApp offer a plethora of RAID options that storage administrators can use to meet their file storage capacity, performance and data protection requirements. NAS appliances can utilize RAID technologies, they work well together or completely apart in many cases. Home and enterprise users can create a RAID configurations unless they choose a JBOD (just a bunch of disks) mode.

Performance wise, components that was used to build NAS will define overall performance:

  • CPU: budget NAS devices will have low-end processors while enterprise NAS systems are often powered by server grade processors like Intel's line of Xeon CPUs.
  • RAM: low-end NAS devices can get by with meager amounts of RAM, while high-end systems can offer gigabytes worth of memory to cache up file operations.
  • Drives: opting for enterprise NAS grade derives will ensure they deliver reliably fast performance with better read/write speeds and better throughput rates. For the ultimate in performance, some vendors like Dell EMC or Synology offer all-flash NAS arrays outfitted with fast SSDs (solid-state drives).

In a RAID configuration, performance characteristics are governed by the quality and type of hard drives used, type of RAID controller and the RAID level selected. A RAID-6 implementation will deliver good read speed while write speeds suffer somewhat because the RAID array needs to store and manage parity information to provide fault tolerance, for example.

Hard drives and SSD drives for NAS Servers

Hard drives and SSD drives are two types of storage devices that can be used for NAS appliances. NAS stands for network-attached storage, which is a device that connects to a network and provides file-level access to multiple users. Hard drives and SSD drives have different advantages and disadvantages for NAS applications, depending on the performance, capacity, reliability, and cost requirements.

Hard drives suitable for NAS usage

Hard drives are the traditional spinning disks that store data magnetically. They have a lower cost per gigabyte than SSD drives, which means they can offer more storage capacity for a given budget. Hard drives also have a longer lifespan than SSD drives, as they can withstand more write cycles before wearing out. However, hard drives have some drawbacks for NAS usage. They are slower than SSD drives, especially for random read and write operations, which can affect the responsiveness and throughput of the NAS device. They also consume more power and generate more heat and noise than SSD drives, which can increase the cooling and maintenance costs of the NAS appliance. Some examples of hard drive brands and models that are suitable for NAS usage are Seagate IronWolf, Western Digital Red, and Toshiba N300.

SSD drives in NAS appliances

SSD drives are the newer solid-state devices that store data electronically. They have no moving parts, which makes them faster, quieter, and more energy-efficient than hard drives. SSD drives can deliver higher performance for NAS applications, as they can handle more input/output operations per second (IOPS) and have lower latency and access times. SSD drives also have a smaller physical size and weight than hard drives, which can save space and improve portability for the NAS device. However, SSD drives have some disadvantages for NAS usage. They have a higher cost per gigabyte than hard drives, which means they can offer less storage capacity for a given budget. SSD drives also have a shorter lifespan than hard drives, as they can degrade over time due to flash memory wear. This can affect the reliability and durability of the NAS device. Some examples of SSD drive brands and models that are suitable for NAS usage are Samsung 870 QVO, Crucial MX500, Seagate IronWolf NAS SSD and WD Red 3D NAND.

One of the most common questions when choosing a hard drive for NAS is what is the difference between Seagate IronWolf and Western Digital Red.

These two brands are both popular and reliable choices for NAS applications, but they have some subtle differences that may affect your decision.

According to various sources , here are some of the main differences between Seagate IronWolf and Western Digital Red:

  • Drive technology: Seagate IronWolf uses CMR (conventional magnetic recording) technology, while Western Digital Red uses SMR (shingled magnetic recording) technology for some of its models (up to 6TB). CMR is generally faster and more reliable than SMR, especially for write-intensive workloads.
  • Performance: Seagate IronWolf has a higher rotation speed (7,200 RPM) than Western Digital Red (5,400 RPM) for models above 6TB. This means that Seagate IronWolf can deliver faster data transfer rates and lower access times than Western Digital Red.
  • Reliability: Both Seagate IronWolf and Western Digital Red have similar MTBF (mean time between failures) ratings of 1 million hours. However, Seagate IronWolf has a higher workload rating of 180TB/year, while Western Digital Red has a lower workload rating of 180TB/year.
  • Noise: Western Digital Red is quieter than Seagate IronWolf, as it has a lower sound level of 23 dBA (idle) and 24 dBA (seek), while Seagate IronWolf has a higher sound level of 25 dBA (idle) and 28 dBA (seek).
  • NASware firmware compatibility: Western Digital Red has a proprietary firmware called NASware that optimizes the drive for NAS environments. It enhances compatibility, reliability, performance, and power management. Seagate IronWolf does not have a specific firmware for NAS, but it does support various features such as AgileArray, rotational vibration sensors, error recovery control, etc.
  • Chance of failure: Western Digital Red has a lower annualized failure rate (AFR) of 0.73%, while Seagate IronWolf has a higher AFR of 0.87%. This means that Western Digital Red has a lower probability of failing within a year than Seagate IronWolf.
  • Power consumption: Western Digital Red consumes less power than Seagate IronWolf, as it has a lower average power consumption of 3.3W (idle) and 4.5W (read/write), while Seagate IronWolf has a higher average power consumption of 5W (idle) and 7.2W (read/write).
  • Versatility: Seagate IronWolf is more versatile than Western Digital Red, as it can support up to 16 bays in a NAS device, while Western Digital Red can only support up to 8 bays. This means that Seagate IronWolf can scale up to larger NAS systems than Western Digital Red.
  • Data transfer rate: Seagate IronWolf has a superior data transfer rate than Western Digital Red, as it has a higher sustained data transfer rate of 210MB/s, while Western Digital Red has a lower sustained data transfer rate of 175MB/s. This means that Seagate IronWolf can move data faster than Western Digital Red.

ACE Data Recovery is the best choice for recovering your precious data from NAS RAID arrays. Whether you have a single-drive or a multi-drive NAS, we have the skills and the tools to handle any situation. We can recover data from any RAID level, any file system, and any brand of NAS device. We have over 35 years of experience in the data recovery industry, and we guarantee 100% customer satisfaction. Don't let a NAS failure ruin your day, contact ACE Data Recovery today and get your data back fast!

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