10 Years of Data Recovery
In August 2016 CDR celebrated ten years of trading. Based in Greater Manchester, Cheadle DATA Recovery Ltd, offers professional data recovery services for all devices, including hard disk drives (HDD), solid state disks (SSD), RAID arrays, servers, NAS, SAN, memory sticks and cards, and now also a full service on mobile phones and tablets.
What’s changed in 10 years?
Most significantly, and obviously, the overall capacity of hard disk drives. Receiving 4000GB HDDs is now common. Back in 2006 the top capacity HDD was approximately 500GB, with most HDDs being received in at between 20GB to 250GB.
The architectures of HDDs have changed dramatically, at least in the case of Western Digital and Seagate. In 2007/2008 a change to ‘Marvell’ and ‘F3’ technology respectively meant some significant changes to the data recovery process. There are also fewer manufacturers of HDDs now, as the larger companies have purchased the smaller manufacturers. Now all HDDs are manufactured by Seagate, Western Digital (WD) or Toshiba. Note that Samsung and Maxtor storage are owned by Seagate. Whilst WD acquired Hitachi GST, and Toshiba acquired Fujitsu storage.
The number of physical disks in a typical RAID set has decreased. This is largely as a result of increased storage capacity per disk. Consequently, fewer disks are required in a RAID set. However, virtualisation within RAID volumes now presents new challenges with multiple filesystems being embedded within a single physical volume.
In 2006 it was rare to receive disks in that were fully encrypted, with the exception of those used by large corporations. Now, full disk encryption comes as standard on many consumer computers. Full disk encryption significantly lengthens the data recovery process.
Solid state disks and high-capacity flash NAND (memory sticks and cards) were not available to most consumer in 2006. The complexity of recovery of these devices has also grown with each passing year. “Chip-off” data recovery techniques used on low capacity memory sticks (1GB or smaller) could be completed in under an hour. Now, direct chip reading of 256GB devices, combined with extensive error control correction (ECC) can take 24 to 48 hours to complete before an engineer gets to examine the output to try and reassemble the data. Likewise, SSD complexity has increased, and with it the challenges when trying to recover data associated with bad blocks and translator failure.
Data recovery of mobile phones and tablets are now a requirement.
What has not changed?
Customer services; explaining to customers how their device has failed in a clear way in which they can understand, and providing an explanation of what work is required to recover the data with a clear pricing structure. Moreover, making sure that the data they want has been successfully recovered and shown by our file listing software.
Prices! The cost of data recovery services, provided by CDR, have remained nearly the same since 2006. Effectively this means a price cut once inflation is taken into account. This is mainly due to the reduced cost of donor parts (matching HDDs) for work on mechanically failed HDDs.
Unfortunately, it is necessary to report that data recovery scams in the UK are still present. Each week we hear from people who have been convinced into paying hundreds of pounds upfront to a data recovery company, only to find that their data could not be recovered. This is despite the company advertising ‘no-recovery, no-fee’ in advance of receiving the HDD. Quite simply if a data recovery company advertises ‘no-recovery, no-fee’ on its website then it should mean it. Do not pay the non-refundable fee.
Finally, what has not changed, is CDR’s determination to recover data from failed devices, even for those devices with complex failures where other companies consider it not cost-effective to spend additional time or working hours on.