Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Moment Of Shear Panic!

This weekend I was thinking about all the data I had stored on my Network Attached Storage (NAS).  An NAS is a hard drive that connects to your network and allows you to share data with all your computers.  I had a lot of data my NAS - 200 GB of pictures alone not to mention music, podcasts, copies of bills and official paperwork.

My NAS was set up in a RAID 5 configuration which means if one of the four hard drives were to fail, you could recover all of the data.

On Saturday, being a bit paranoid, I started looking into online backup services.  Forty-five minutes later my NAS died.  After a moment of panic and a call to tech support, the first diagnosis was a failed hard drive.  I ordered a new drive and installed it this afternoon.  All I had to do was power up the NAS, browse to its setup page, and tell it to rebuild the RAID 5 array.  Easy-peasy.

It would have been very easy if the NAS would have responded to my commands.  The thing was being stubborn.  I contacted tech support and talked to a nice guy who, for about an hour, walked me through several different procedures attempting to get get the infernal box to communicate.

In the end we determined that the failed hard drive might have only been a symptom of a bad NAS controller (The mini-computer that controls the NAS functions).  "What's my next step?" I asked.  Well ... it's not in warranty ... and that model had been discontinued ... that means we can't do anything about it.  He then referred me to a data recovery company that cuts deals for people in my situation.

I called the data recovery company and talked to some really nice people.  No problem.  "How much would it cost?" I asked.  I thought it would be less than $500.00.  A pause. The minimum ... $800.00.  The maximum ... $3,900.00.  His best guess ... around two grand.  Are-You-Kidding-Me???  He wasn't.

I called another service near Omaha.  They quoted $3,000.00 - $9,000.  Holy S*&^%^$!!!

I packaged the drives up and will be shipping them to the first place tomorrow.  They are paying the shipping and the evaluation will be free.  If I don't like the final quote they'll even send the drives back for free.

We are chalking this up to a lesson learned.  I thought I had been more than careful.  If it had lasted a few more weeks I probably would have had everything backed up in the cloud.  Obviously I was not careful enough.  When I get the drives back I will back everything up to an online service.  I may even keep a couple more copies of the data at home just to be sure.

Lesson learned ... damn it ... Lesson learned.


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