If your organization relies on a Redundant Array of Inexpensive Drives (RAID) 6 for data storage, your critical information isn’t always safe. RAID 6 is useful technology that prevents downtime if a drive or two malfunctions, but sometimes organizations and individuals still need data recovery.

How RAID 6 Works

In computers, the word parity describes a system that distributes data and checks for material that is missing or overwritten during transfer. It is in addition to data added by the users and is used during reconstruction after hard drive failure. If one value is missing, as drives rebuild data they compare it to parity information. Drives lose some of their space to parity storage, since every data stripe is also in parity.

RAID 6 systems stripe data between three and 16 drives, with parity data spread evenly across drives.  RAID 6 functions in the same way, but with dual parity. It takes at least four drives, but it can still function if two drives fail.

RAID 6 provides fast data transactions but is somewhat slower than RAID 5 because of the extra parity calculations. Drive failures impact the entire system, and while drives can be replaced without a system shutdown, the technology is complex. Rebuilding arrays after failure can take a long time.

Common RAID 6 Failures

Most of the time, RAID 6 provides effective storage, strong security and dependable performance. If your organization is looking into data recovery, it is probably because something has gone wrong that is outside the realm of your IT department’s expertise. These are the most common failures requiring data recovery:

  • Failure connected to electrical hardware – Sometimes components such as the motherboard, RAID controller or power supply break down. If your controller fails, the entire array is inaccessible until it becomes operational again.
  • More than one hard drive fails – RAID 6 arrays function unless three hard drives fail simultaneously. It sounds almost impossible, but because of the way RAID 6 arrays function, two drives can fail without users noticing. When the third fails, you need an expert.
  • Operator error – It doesn’t matter how many times your array copies data if those data are incorrect. When users delete files, the array deletes them everywhere they exist. What was designed for efficiency and safety becomes a redundancy problem.

Data Recovery After RAID 6 Failure

Immediately power off when a RAID array goes down. Many data recovery problems aren’t the result of electrical surges or viruses, they’re created during attempts to recreate or restore what was lost.

Your organization’s IT staff might be highly trained in all the technology at your facility, but data recovery is a complex issue most technology professionals seldom face. When they rush to recover data and power up equipment, sometimes they damage or lose critical files. It’s always best to consult an expert for complex RAID data recovery.

Hire The RAID 6 Data Recovery Experts

At Flashback Data, we recover and restore data from virtually every available type of media. We have a no-data, no-fee policy, and our friendly experts are ready to answer your questions. Contact us today for a free quote.