Lacie 2Big in Raid 1 failed and photos are gone - what now?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by castles00, Mar 19, 2015.

  1. castles00 macrumors newbie

    castles00

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2013
    Location:
    Chicago
    #1
    Hi all,

    Apologies in advance if this post is in the wrong place, I'm just desperate for help here. I've got limited space on my iMac's internal HDD, so I've been using a Lacie 2Big external drive as the primary location for my files. I had it set up in a Raid 1 structure, which I thought would protect me from disk failure. I came home on Saturday night to a message on my iMac that my external drive had not been properly ejected (nobody was home, so this happened without a person involved). From that point on, I have not been able to get the drive to mount to the iMac. After reading several forum discussions, I figured it was a power supply issue and ordered a replacement from Lacie. It arrived today and my problem is not fixed. Tech support is now telling me that my hard drive has been corrupted and I'll need data recovery services to get my files back.

    My first question: how does this happen? Why isn't a Raid 1 set up enough to protect me from disk failure? I'm not a back up expert but I thought I was taking the right step to insure my data. Was I wrong? Should I get another opinion (could Lacie be wrong - is there another potential issue at play here)? I just thought that if one drive failed, the other one would have a back up waiting for me, but it seems as though neither drive is functional at this point. I can see the structure in System Information under the Thunderbolt tree but not in Disk Utility (and it won't mount).

    My second question: have any of you had success with data recovery in the past? If any of you are in the Chicago area, do you have a local service provider that you can recommend? I need these files back - my wedding pictures, honeymoon pictures, video of my proposal to my wife, pictures of my deceased father, etc. I don't have these stored anywhere else. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

    Thanks!
     
  2. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #2
    First off you can recover the files from your Time machine volume. If you set up Time machine.

    Second. MANY people don't understand RAID. It will protect against a disk drive failure but ONLY against a disk drive failure. Apparently your problem was the power supply not one of the disk drives.

    The chances are good that they can get the data off of your disks. That is i=unless you have been using the disks and it sounds like that was not possible. It might be easy to pull the disks out of their enclosure and copy the data off at least one of the copies but don't try that yourself. Pay a service and accept this as a good lesson that you need a BACKUP plan.

    A backup plan meets ALL of these rules
    1) the data is stored in at least three physical media at all times (a rain box counts only as one)
    2) the data is stored in at least TWO geographic locations (at last on different buildings)
    3) the above must remain true even while a backup is underway so a backup can't over write your old data.

    The biggest ways to loose data are
    1) power problem that takes down all devices that are powered up
    2) disaster like a fire
    3) theft of the equipment
    4) operator error (deleting the wrong files and not noticing until later)
    5) buggy software or OS corrupting your files

    Notice that RAID does not address ANY of the above.

    Try this: (1) Get a new disk drive to hold your data
    (2) get a second larger drive to use exclusively for Time machine and let TM do hourly backups
    (3) subscribe to an on-line service like Backblaze or CrashPlan and let then keep your data for $5 per month
    (4) Finally buy another disk and periodically make a copy put the copy in a small portable fire safe and take it to some far away place.
    (5) optional. Do #4 again and rotate the drives soon is always away.

    If you don't do all this you can expect to periodically loose data to one of the above causes. You make keep data for 20 years but not longer unless you have several off-site copies.

    You want to be able to still have data even after multiple bad things happen. For example after your house burns don is a bad time to find you forgot to pay the bill at the backup company. or that your off-site backup disk has failed.

    Hardly anyone does this so I expect in 100 years there will be VERY few 100 year old photos



     
  3. simonsi macrumors 601

    simonsi

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2014
    Location:
    Auckland
    #3
    It has protected you from disk failure. What it can't possibly do is protect you from failure of its single power supply. From you description it powered down when the power supply died. It wasn't properly ejected so it looks like the system was writing to the drive at the time (hence the warning about a non-ejected drive).

    So now you know you weren't actually protected and aren't backed up either.

    Now data recovery, these vary immensely but the good news is that as you were in RAID1 (which means the drives mirror each other), you have two copies to play with.

    There are some good apps on the App store, most will allow a free scan to see what they can see on the drive, then you purchase before it will actually recover the files. As long as you haven't written further files to the drive (and you can't have), then the files should be there, just with no index.

    Trouble is they won't mount. AFAIK you need to get one of the drives to mount before you can do anything further. If it was me I would format one drive to one big partition, that should get it mounted, then you can run a data recovery scan against it with the app of you choice. I have only recovered image files from a camera data card, I've not used it on a drive. Edit to add - a paid service may use entirely different techniques...

    You may have different successes with different file types, photos are normally quite easy, video can be more difficult (as the file isn't any kind of standard size).

    As you have two drives that should be a mirror you can try two techniques/apps, the recovery apps work non-destructively, but the necessary repartitioning means you may lose some data.

    Hope this helps. When you get whatever you can recovered go and buy 3 external drives (they are cheap enough), use one as your external, use the other two as backups. Time Machine works fine, you can backup to one drive, then swap and take the drive to a relatives house or your office. Run the second drive for a week (or whatever period suits), then rotate them again.
     
  4. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #4
    Sorry to hear this, but it should be fairly easy to recover if you have the patience and are willing to do some research and read up. I had a failed setup on RAID0 that I was able to recover a lot of data on once, so drives from a RAID1 should be a lot easier. There is hope :)

    It's not really clear what you've tried, since you got the new 2Big...

    The first thing I would try is just taking one drive at a time from the failed 2Big and putting it into the working 2Big... if either of them mounts on their own in the new enclosure, you're good.

    If neither drive shows up in the new 2Big in Finder, I would check Disk Utility... if it shows up there, you can probably use data recovery without doing anything further. If neither are visible in Finder or Disk Utility, and the pair also doesn't show up in either, then I think Simon is right, you will likely need to format one of them which just resets the drive, it won't actually overwrite any of the data... then you can use data recover software to scan the disk for data.

    I recommend Data Rescue 4. I used it last summer to recover some files off a RAID0 array which is way more difficult than recovering from a RAID1. It's worth the $99.

    You will need a drive in good working condition that's large enough to recover to. I would buy a cheap USB external drive you can use for this task that's large enough to hold the recovered data.

    Really sorry to hear this, but most of your data should be recoverable. Then we can talk about a better backup strategy :)
     
  5. castles00 thread starter macrumors newbie

    castles00

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2013
    Location:
    Chicago
    #5
    Thanks

    Ok, this is all extremely helpful - thank you, everyone. Tough lesson to learn, but at least it sounds like all hope is not lost.

    VirtualRain - sorry, I actually only have the failed 2Big. I ordered a new power supply, but not a new drive. I had been thinking that just replacing the power supply would allow me to get things back up and running. Foolish in hindsight, I know...

    As far as external drives go, do you have any recommendations on manufacturers? I know things happen, so I don't want to blame Lacie for this, but should I be looking at another drive manufacturer instead of them? Any thoughts are very welcome. Thanks again, all.
     
  6. fcortese macrumors demi-god

    fcortese

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2010
    Location:
    Big Sky country
    #6
    I second ChrisA's advice. This is exactly what I do and I have a Lacie 2big set at RAID 1 as my external drive.
     
  7. paolo- macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2008
    #7
    Raid 1 is not a backup. You just ended up with 2 exact copies of your corrupt file system. Raid 1 would only help you in the case of a single drive failure.

    Luckily, drive corruption is typically fairly easy to recover as it can typically be solved with automated software (as opposed to drive failure which can require taking the drive apart).

    ChrisA's suggestions are on point. As for drive suggestions, the most cost effective way to do your backups is with a cradle and bare drives. Seagate drives are typically recognized as being less reliable than HGST (formerly Hitachi) and Western Digital.
     
  8. sarge macrumors 6502a

    sarge

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Brooklyn
    #8
    Totally agree w/ChrisA on this as well. Am curious how many photos will actually survive of the early digital era myself, although I believe that archive management is something that will eventually be taken out of consumers hands as bandwidth increases and sharing proliferates. The fact remains that of the millions upon millions of paper, glass, cellulose, and polyester negatives made over the course of the last 170 years or so, people only tend to save human readable images --and those happen to be prints not negatives.

    Luckily I've only ever lost a single drive but as a matter of course I have backups both on-site and off. However one thing I'm curious about is file recovery software w/respect to certain file types. Over in another thread there is discussion on the efficacy of DNG vs RAW -I now recall accidentally erasing some RAW files a few years ago. I purchased SubRosaSoft's FileSalvage in a vain attempt to reclaim these files but soon discovered that it could not recover RAW files (0r maybe it was some Panasonic P2 footage, I forget now (apologies to SubRosaSoft if I've got that backwards). Which reminds me, I've also lost P2 .txt files but was unwilling to spend the $ for salvage software to re-create that file...I was hoping to be able to open textwrangler and generate that file myself but was never successful in that regard.

    In any event, are there certain file types that are not recoverable or that are otherwise difficult to get back? I've seen a few RAW recovery programs floating around out there but they only seem to incorporate 2 or 3 raw formats. Just curious if anyone has experienced difficulty w/any particular file types or formats or if all file types can be easily recovered w/o having to buy all these different salvage solutions. I'm guessing this is why the advice is to take it to a recovery shop but am seeking clarification on this.
     
  9. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2012
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #9
    If you look elsewhere you will likely find the same single point of failure....a single power supply. So either have a spare power supply or use a RAID enclosure with dual power supplies.
     
  10. sarge macrumors 6502a

    sarge

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    Location:
    Brooklyn
    #10
  11. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #11
    I see... The Lacie wasn't under warranty? Anyway, I would have ordered another Lacie 2Big to do the recovery and then returned it after the job was done if you wanted to switch brands. At any rate, you will need some kind of working enclosure to put your old drives in, to do the recovery... ideally identical, but if that's not possible, you will need something.

    BTW, it's not really clear what your situation is... what exactly is working and not working? What 2Big do you have? How is it connected to the Mac (NAS, USB, Thunderbolt?)? What is happening with the new power supply? Is the 2Big working now but the drives are not mounting? Can you see the drives in Disk Utility?

    As for externals to recover to, IMHO there's no good or bad, these days... all brands have problems. For this task, I would just buy the cheapest large capacity drive you can get.
     
  12. simonsi macrumors 601

    simonsi

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2014
    Location:
    Auckland
    #12
    Having a spare PS won't stop the single PS failing in use and causing drive corruption, which appears to be what has happened here.

    Many people forget you can set up a mirror (ie RAID1) in OS X, using external USB drives, if you use two identical 3.5" drives with their own mains power then dual power is sorted - and without the complexity of a full dual-PS Raid enclosure.
     
  13. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2012
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #13
    Correct but it could get the array back up and running in hours instead of daze or weaks. ;)
     
  14. castles00 thread starter macrumors newbie

    castles00

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2013
    Location:
    Chicago
    #14
    It was under warranty, but they won't do the recovery under the warranty. If I send the device in for service, I'll lose the data, so I need to do the recovery first.

    When I plug the old device into my Mac and plug in the power supply, the blue power light comes on and I hear some spinning....and then it stops. Nothing is mounted. I can't see the drives in Disk Utility but I can see the structure under the Thunderbolt tree in System Information. The specific device I own is the previous (early-mid 2013?) version of this one:

    https://www.lacie.com/us/products/product.htm?id=10573

    I own the 4TB version, which appears to no longer be sold directly by Lacie. This was connected through Thunderbolt before the failure.

    I worry about trying to do the recovery myself because I'm far from an expert in this space. I hate the idea of paying a ton of money for data recovery service, but I also don't want to put my data at further risk.
     
  15. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #15
    I see. I would ask Lacie, if they can offer an advance replacement, even if you pay for the replacement first, and then they credit you when the broke one comes back. That would be ideal (see #1 below).

    There are three possibilities... From least screwed to most... (others feel free to correct me if I'm wrong)...

    1. At least one drive's data is fine and in-tact but your enclosure is broke... Putting the good drive in a new enclosure of the same type might have you up and running with full access to your data. But in my experience, for the best chance for this to work, the enclosure would ideally be the same type... Vendor, chipset, and interconnect. I might be wrong, but putting a drive from SATA/TB into a USB enclosure would almost certainly require a format to mount it, in which case you're onto #2. Any TB enclosure might work, but there's no guarantee of that either.
    2. Both drives are corrupt or a similar enclosure cannot be used and therefore data recovery will be required. You will need a working enclosure or HD dock to connect one drive (like what was suggested above), reformat, and use Data Rescue 4 to scan the drive to recover data.
    3. Both drives are physically fried, in which case you'd have to send them away to a data recovery service.

    Or you could go directly to #3, but it will be costly, and they will likely follow the steps above anyway.

    ----------

    Not if it toasted the drives or corrupted the data when it failed.
     
  16. Fishrrman macrumors G5

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #16
    OP:

    I realize this reply can't help you now, but...

    ... in the future, I would NOT use ANY kind of RAID array again.

    Instead, just create multiple copies of "standalone" hard drives.

    Using a USB/SATA docking station is an easy way to swap bare drives around.

    It's possible to buy docking stations with 2 or even 4 "bays" ....
     
  17. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #17
    I agree to stay away from RAID. It is not just power supply issues that can cause corruption. Losing power or surprise removal can also easily cause corruption.

    In some ways, RAID provides some extra protection, but that is VERY limited. At the same time, RAID has additional failure mechanisms that single spindle drives do not have.

    I have had MANY more RAID boxes fail than I've had single spindle drives fail. I personally think, at the end of the day, RAID arrays are less reliable than single spindle drives.

    There are two reasons why RAID was especially useful for consumers:
    1. Performance
    2. Requirement for a large single volume
    Item #1 is has been completely obliterated by SSDs. A good RAID box might give you 400 IOPS. An average SSD will give you 50,000+ IOPS. No comparison.

    With 6TB - 8TB drives now available inexpensively item #2 is hardly a concern anymore.

    Personally, I think the need for RAID is behind us now, which is why I agree so strongly with Fishrman.

    I also have (and occasionally use) docks like Fishrman does... but my recommendation for those is not as strong as his. Drives in enclosures are generally as inexpensive (or often less expensive) than bare drives... and they are inherently better protected from mishandling. Hence, it is 50/50 if you want to deal with bare drives, or buy them in enclosures. You cannot go wrong with either choice.

    Finally be extremely careful in your attempt at data recovery. There are companies like Drive Savers Inc that can surely get your data back, but they are probably north of $1K. You do not want to do anything that will possibly cause any write operations to your existing drives. If so, you may completely lose your data.

    /Jim
     
  18. simonsi macrumors 601

    simonsi

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2014
    Location:
    Auckland
    #18
    The most important thing to understand is that "RAID" isn't a single "thing" - RAID1 is completely different to RAID5 in terms of benefit to the user.

    Any form of RAID is, however, more complex and therefore less reliable than single drives, the purpose is to (mostly) make the system have access to the data closer to 100% than a single drive can achieve due to expected downtime while it is fixed and restored,

    As above, no RAID system constitutes a backup of any kind, and was never intended to be such.

    Agree with all the downsides of RAID you quote...
     
  19. flynz4 macrumors 68040

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    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #19
    Completely understand. Yes, different RAID levels are very different from one another.

    I still contend that RAID in general is quickly dying as having benefit to consumers. SSDs have already obliterated the performance reason for moving to a RAID array. With large HDDs, few people need volumes that are larger than current HDDs.

    What is really interesting is the near future of large SSDs enabled by 3D NAND. Multi-TB SSDs will be widely available in a couple of years. At that point, just about any reason to keep the complexity and error characteristics of HDD RAID arrays will be behind us.

    /Jim
     
  20. simonsi macrumors 601

    simonsi

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    Jan 3, 2014
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    #20
    +1 to that - although there are still threads on here asking if/how to put two SSDs in RAID0...:eek:
     
  21. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #21
    I think that's a blanket statement. I'd rather say that some people expect RAID1 to be something that's it's not — a replacement for a proper backup. There is nothing wrong with using a RAID1 if you know what it's good for (being able to continue working in the event of a drive failure).
     
  22. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #22
    No, what happens is we find more ways of making data. For example storing uncompressed video from the HDMI output of a dSLR. You'd like to have a few hundred hours of that data available all at once for editing.

    Maybe people will not want RAID at home but they will use it if they use any cloud services.

    The real purpose of RAID is making bigger disks. That is really the only use of RAID today. If you really do have 8 or maybe 16 GB of data RAID is about the only option. But them you need three of them for backup, with at least one of the RAIDs off site. It gets expensive.
     
  23. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #23
    I think you meant to say TB (not GB).

    As you said... large volumes is really the only remaining use for RAID, and that is evaporating quickly with 8TB single spindle drives being available. Few people need single volumes that large.

    The other traditional use of RAID was for performance. SSDs have almost completely taken over the performance market.

    Regarding cloud services: Traditional enterprise still uses RAID, but most cloud providers are moving away from RAID as well. It depends on the application, but the trend seems to be to attain reliability via replication across the datacenter, and across the globe... rather than traditional RAID.

    /Jim
     
  24. Evren Carven macrumors regular

    Evren Carven

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2014
    #24
    As your description, your Lacie probably has a hardware failure. Generally, you cannot hear spinning sound, because the sound is small. If you hear this spinning sound, that means the disk platter or disk header has some hardware failure. For your data consideration, you'd better send your Lacie to a data recovery service.

    About the Thunderbolt tree in System Information, you can see the structure is because of the circuit board is good yet. But the data stored in the disk platter, so you cannot see the Lacie in Disk Utility since the logical structure for data is bad.
     

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