A national drinks wholesaler organisation required restoration of specific Lotus Notes mail files, from amongst several LTO2 tapes, to resolve a potential claim from a customer. The organisation no longer possessed the capability to restore the tapes in house by the native application and indeed were unsure which of the tapes contained the targeted information.
Given the relatively low number of tapes involved, backup format and our ingrained philosophy of always using the most appropriate methodology (in terms of time and cost), to identify and restore the targeted information, we discerned the most efficient approach was to perform a scan of each tape, using our own in-house software tools, to locate and restore the required files.
Once located the required files were restored via our non-native process and returned to the customer, in a secure manner, by agreed DVD format; the work being scheduled and successfully completed at our secure processing centre, with all objectives fully met inside a one business week timescale. The client was pleased with the outcome of the project and remarked “…[we are] delighted to say that this has saved a lot of money from a claim from a customer’’.
Media Discovery was contacted by one of its corporate customers, a global security company challenged to respond quickly to a request for the disclosure of legacy email data required for an ongoing external investigation.
As is typical of this type of scenario the information was required in double quick time.
The initial project scope identified a quantity of approximately 2000 LTO tapes, backed up under a single backup format and containing Lotus Notes email information.
Two things initially made the situation more challenging;
The tape catalogue was no longer available - making identification of tape contents more difficult.
The deadline for delivery of responsive data was 21 days.
As challenging as this deadline was our ability to scale up, automate some of the processing tasks and work on a 24x7 basis meant we were confident of a positive outcome.
When the tapes arrived at our secure processing centre it was then the scope changed completely and we were faced with;
An increase in the number of tapes to process - over 2800 tapes of differing physical formats. 3 different backup formats. 2 types of email data, being not only Lotus Notes but also Exchange data.
These changes significantly changed the processing and workflow requirements – but the deadline for delivery remained the same!
Intelligence provided to Media Discovery in advance of the project was vague and inaccurate and therefore complicated the process of tape discovery. This was a project to test Media Discovery's project management capabilities and its ability to react with flexibility and professionalism.
To deal with the volume of tape within the scope of this project we invoked several instances of our non-native restoration software, connected multiple tape devices and developed and implemented the specific workflows required for each tape backup and mail format to deliver the data within the required timeframe.
All tapes were subjected to a ‘Header Scan’ to provide an initial insight into their contents and based on these results, when analysed against the date ranges provided by the customer, we were able to produce a file listing for each tape deemed as being ‘responsive’.
The next stage was to restore the ‘responsive’ tapes and extract the relevant email data, by custodian. The process and time required for this stage differed depending on the email format.
The deliverable was the return to the customer, in the required output format and in a secure manner, of the email data relating to the named custodians, within specific date ranges. In this case the data was to be returned on encrypted hard drives.
Media Discovery’s ability to add technical and human resource quickly, to ensure the data was provided on time, was the key to the successful outcome of this project.
A global TV and Video production company had LTO tapes, containing customer data, which were proving problematic when they tried to read data back from them.
When the tapes were loaded into their tape library they encountered various error codes, most of which indicated that ‘the storage volume name was inaccessible’ - and this prevented the tape from being read. The tapes were backed up using IBM’s TSM backup software.
The customer tried copying the data to a new tape to resolve the issue but encountered the same error codes!
After having investigated the error codes, their meanings and suggested user responses the customer was still unable to access the data and sent the tape to our secure processing centre for further investigation.
During our initial diagnosis it was identified that the tapes had been re-initialised, making access to data within a normal processing environment impossible.
Calling on several years of Tape Data Recovery expertise our technical experts we able to position the tape beyond the EOD (End of Data) file mark and commence reading ‘raw data’. In Data Recovery procedures this is always the ‘nerve-jangling’ period with Tape Data Recovery as there is always room for something to go wrong until the very last block of data is read.
Reading raw data is only part of the solution – recovery is not complete until the data is delivered back to the customer in a usable format i.e. in this instance on a hard drive.
Utilising our own non-native restoration software tools we were able to identify the object headers and create file listings ready to restore as required.
From tape 1 we were able to identify a total of 1.1TB of data and 770GB from tape 2.
Being able to produce file listings for our customer enabled them to determine which specific files were available, identify those that were required and minimised the overall cost of recovery.
A large European Retailer decided to consolidate their Data Centre estate into the UK and needed to introduce ‘islands of legacy information’ into their preferred tape backup platform environment, namely LTO5 backed up under Symantec NetBackup.
Legacy data resided on two distinct platforms;
LTO2 tape media, backed up under Atempo Time Navigator
Sony 5.25” Magneto Optical Disks backed up under a proprietary data format.
The issue for the customer was that they had neither the infrastructure nor time to undertake the necessary restore of the data, prior to the closure of non-strategic data centres.
An initial Proof of Concept exercise was undertaken to determine / prove the backup format for both the tape and optical media and reveal any unforeseen complexity with any aspect of the formats.
Optical Disk processing involved;
Creating a sector-for-sector copy (image) of each side of the optical disks.
Images taken to SATA disk to facilitate faster file extraction.
Each image processed and files extracted to an Ext-3 file system under Linux.
Create directory for files extracts identifying the data source i.e. which disk, which side...
Target data written out to LTO5 tape media using the NBU system. LTO2 processing involved;
Scanning of LTO2 tape media to identify Time Navigator archives present and to establish the correct order for processing (multi-tape archives).
Using multiple systems, tapes read and files extracted to hard disk using the directory structure from within the backup data (and with parent directories to identify the source tape sets and backup sets from where the data was read).
Target data taken to the NBU system set up for the process and written to LTO5.
Overall 551 (legacy) media units were consolidated onto 40 LTO5 tapes.
The legacy data was incorporated into the go-forward strategic environment ensuring that the business continued to have access to the data without the need to maintain non-strategic legacy backup environments and associated costs (software, hardware, people, space, power etc).
An International Bank, based in the Middle East, required the urgent restoration of approximately 15 backup tapes to gain access to EDB mail stores of interest in relation to an investigation. Having failed to restore the targeted data, within the original environment, specialist restoration and recovery skills were required on site within 2 days, with a 5 day deadline to complete the task.
Given the time frame available to attend site and complete the task, effective and speedy deployment of the appropriate people and tools was key to this operation.
We immediately despatched skilled and experienced technicians to site, with the appropriate hardware and software resources. Initially the raw data had to be read from the tapes so that the data could be examined to determine whether there was a problem that could potentially prevent restoration. Subsequently, via the utilisation of our proprietary non-native restoration software, we were able to identify and restore the targeted data.
All data read from a tape and then restored from within that data was stored under a directory that identified that tape.
The original task was to restore 15 tapes within 5 days However, our tools, people and efficient workflow lead to this being done within the first 2 days. This being the case the customer requested us that we stay on site to restore as many tapes as possible, up to the 5 days originally planned for.
A total of 45 tapes containing responsive data were restored via our non-native process and handed to the customer on site by way of HDDs with encrypted partitions.
The combination of our deep expertise in tape restoration processes and bespoke and proprietary software tools meant we successfully restored the targeted data – and more