Lost data and downtime can have a huge impact on your bottom line, so recovering from a loss quickly can be critical. Depending on the nature of the loss, it could take hours or days to recover, but a special service that one data recovery company has introduced can take some of the sting out of downtime and get you up and running again more quickly.

Ontrack Data Recovery Services, which was acquired earlier this year by risk consulting firm Kroll Worldwide, has introduced a remote data recovery service that allows organizations to retrieve lost data and restore crashed drives without having to send the devices out of the office. This can greatly speed the recovery process and mitigate the losses incurred as a result of downtime.

Because of the convenience of this service and its potential to reduce recovery costs, Ontrack is worth serious consideration. If you’re looking for a quick retrieval option, look at what Ontrack has to offer.

Mitigating the impact of data loss
Data loss can occur and manifest itself in a variety of ways. Crashed network drives, failed backups, and physical damage are the biggest culprits in data loss. When they attempt to restore data in the event of a drive crash, many organizations find that backups were either performed incorrectly or failed entirely. In most cases, however, the data really isn’t gone; it just can’t be accessed.

“In many cases when data appears to be gone, it’s really not,” said Ontrack director of business development Jim Reinert. “It’s just that the pointers to the data are gone, and the files still exist on the disk somewhere.”

Recover the original instead of a copy
Data recovery processes can—in most cases—restore files that are made inaccessible by physical or logical failures. One point Reinert made about data recovery is that it retrieves the most recent original file, whereas successful backups offer only the most recent copy of the original. The time difference between the most recent copy and the most recent original can be significant, Reinert said, especially in large organizations where many transactions take place in any given time span.

In some cases, recovering the original file is therefore a better option because, depending on how often you back up your data, you may still lose information when restoring from a backup.

Time down is money lost
Time is also an important factor in data loss. The longer it takes to recover data, the more downtime can affect the bottom line. Ontrack’s remote recovery service has the potential to greatly reduce the time necessary to recover lost data and get up and running again.

Reinert says the remote recovery process is currently the fastest data recovery method available primarily because it eliminates some of the steps required by other methods. Typical data recovery processes involve creating an image of the drive to recover the data stored on it, and you often must send the affected drive to a lab that will image and recover the data.

Ontrack’s remote recovery solution bypasses these steps altogether. “It’s recovering the data on the same device on which it currently resides,” said Reinert, so there’s no copying involved and no need to ship the drive to a lab for analysis and recovery.

A few simple steps to data recovery
Using the service is fairly simple. You begin by downloading the client software from Ontrack’s Web site. The client program is available in Windows and DOS versions. The Windows client, said Reinert, would be used in a case where just one volume of a server is down and not the whole server. You can run the Windows client on the server to allow Ontrack to connect to it over the Internet and perform the recovery. The DOS client creates a self-booting diskette that allows Ontrack to connect via a modem.

The downloadable client is free and really just enables Ontrack to make a connection to the device that has suffered a data loss. “Once a connection is made,” said Reinert, “then an Ontrack technician on this end can download tools and run them remotely on the system to perform a diagnostic.”

The diagnostic phase, said Reinert, can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. The diagnostic tests help Ontrack determine the nature of the problem and what’s recoverable. If the drive is physically damaged or failing, the diagnostic utility can detect it, and this will determine whether the remote recovery can be performed. If the drive is physically damaged, it will have to be sent to an Ontrack lab, or an Ontrack technician can travel to the customer site to perform the recovery.

When the diagnostic phase is complete, Ontrack reports the results to the customer and presents a quote of how much it will cost to complete the recovery. If the customer decides to move forward with the recovery after receiving the estimate, then it can take hours to days to complete the process, depending on the size and complexity of the job. Ontrack remotely runs its own custom tool on the drive to recover the data, and a technician monitors the process as it is carried out. In the case of complex jobs that may take days, Reinert says, the task can be handed off from one technician to another so that it continues to run and be monitored constantly until it’s completed.

Reinert gave an example of one remote recovery that Ontrack performed on a 3-terabyte server. The company said it was losing about $1 million as a result of the downtime and had estimated that it would take eight days to rebuild the server using backups. Ontrack’s diagnostic determined that the job could be completed in just three days with the remote recovery service.

As with other recovery services, the cost depends on the size and complexity of the job. Customers are charged a nonrefundable $100 fee to diagnose the problem; after that, the charge varies depending on the nature of the job. Reinert said that many of Ontrack’s services start at under $1,000.

Ontrack also sells recovery software for those who want to do it themselves. EasyRecovery DataRecovery 6.0 is available on the Ontrack Web site for $199.

Remote efficiency
Ontrack’s remote recovery solution can be a quick and easy way to mitigate losses incurred from crashed drives or failed backups. By eliminating the steps typically involved in recovering lost data, the service speeds up the process and can therefore reduce the impact on the bottom line. Be sure to remember Ontrack’s remote service when time is a big factor in recovering lost data.