Data Recovery Woes

Well, I’ve managed to salvage most of what I lost on the dead disc array — turns out I did a much better job of backing things up than I’d thought. The recovery of the actual intellectual work portion only ended up taking about a day. That still means there’s a lot of recapturing of digital video and rendering of video effects to do (the stuff that wasn’t backed up, and was completely unrecoverable), but that’s just tedium; I can live with that. Then again, the family’s off to Virginia Beach for the weekend, and I’m stuck here, so I’m not exactly the happiest camper in the world.

I’ll try to look on the bright side of things: This was just the excuse we needed to justify a larger set of drives, so we can afford to set them up as a RAID 1 mirror rather than just a RAID 0 stripe. For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, a striped set of discs uses the full capacity of all of the discs, with the advantage of accessing them all simultaneously; for example, if you’ve got three discs (like I had) you can access them three times as fast — great for digital video. A mirrored set of discs uses only half of the disc capacity, reserving the other half for an exact duplicate of the first half. The advantage here is that one drive failure (which is what happened to me) doesn’t hose all of your data; the disadvantage is that you lose that high-speed access benefit. Other RAID schemes sort of combine the two options, but Mac OS X’s included Disc Utility only supports 0 or 1 (higher RAID options usually requiring dedicated hardware). So in the end, I’ll have eight drives on my desk (six new ones plus the two remaining ones from before, each 120GB), but only be using the storage capacity of four. And since the dead drive was still under warranty, we should be able to have it replaced for use as a recovery backup.

Inefficient, maybe, but probably a small price to pay not to have to go through this again.


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