OSGrid Needs Help

You may have heard that OSGrid had a hard disk crash. They use a RAID (Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks) system to improve reliability and speed. But, the system crashed and could not be recovered as they thought would be possible.

They have been exploring recovery via professional data recovery services. It appears they will be able to recover all data. It is unclear to me exactly what the cost is, but US$2,600 is close. That uses up a little more than half the funds available to OSGrid.

If you use OSGrid, it is definitely time to kick in with a little extra support. Make donations here: OSGrid Donations. A thousand people need to contribute $26 to cover the drive failure.

RAID Reliability

I’ve had RAID systems go sideways. Everyone becomes complacent because they have the added protection of having data on multiple drives. Or do they?

There are RAID systems that are designed for speed. These systems write parts of a large file to multiple drives. With error correction processes it is theoretically possible to recover the missing part on a single failed drive. I have yet to actually get this to work. Nor do I know anyone that has. So, basically by spreading the data across three drives one is three times more likely to have a failure. But, these systems dealing with large files are fast.

There are also RAID systems designed for security. These systems use a duplicate of each drive. So, in the 3 drive example above, we would add 3 more drives for a total of 6 drives. Of course there are twice as many failure points. But, each failure point has a backup. The possibility of both duplicates of the same section of data failing is low. But, it takes some thinking about the statistics and MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures) of the drives to know it this is an improvement.

In addition, RAID systems are run by hardware in the computer. Either a chip on the motherboard or a special card added to the system and occasionally by software. If the chip, card, or software mess up ALL the data can be lost. That includes the mirrored/duplicated data on the ‘duplicate’ drives.

No matter what one does, they need a backup copy of their data on a device outside the computer.

One thought on “OSGrid Needs Help

  1. They wrote: We have new information on the recovery process.: The additional costs, less the $2302.56 we have already paid them, comes to $2510. We currently have $3432.88 which would make our budget very tight (we still have hosting costs, etc).

    A thousand people giving 26 dollars is $ 26, 000 so it isn’t that bad. A thousand people giving up a small latte and they are good.

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