Water and electronic equipment do not mix well, which is not normally an issue for most users of RAID servers when they are housed in a server room. While server rooms are usually fitted with fire suppression systems, an alarming number are poorly sited, whereby a water leak, or firefighting efforts could easily result in water enter the area. Another possibility for ingress of water into a RAID server, be it in a server room or not, is due to a flood.
If water does enter a RAID server, it will most likely cause a short circuit, but water is highly likely to enter the hard disk drives. Should there be a flood, the hard drives will become saturated. In all cases of water damage, the hard disk drives should be sent for professional data recovery. It is important to follow the guidelines outlined below to avoid making the data recovery process more complex than it should be.
Power the RAID Server Off
In the event of water entering a RAID system it is almost impossible to ensure that the water has been dried out. You should therefore power the system off after water has entered the system. Never power the RAID system on up again, as the water may result in a lot of unnecessary damage. If water enters inside the housing of the platter it will interfere with the normal operation of the read/write heads.
Most fluids contain contaminants, especially within what is likely to be a dusty environment; this dirt will almost certainly adhere to the platter surfaces. If the read/write heads impact with the contaminants stuck to the platter surfaces, there is likely to be damage to both the read/write head and the magnetic recording media. The read/write heads could easily stick to the debris which would result in the platters stopping. Should water cause a short circuit, it is likely to result a discharge across the drive controller chip; this would cause a rapid temperature rise, causing the chip to explode. The data will become inaccessible, requiring the drives to be sent for data recovery.
Keep the Disk Drives Wet
The contaminants can be corrosive if allowed to adhere to the platters, especially if it dries out. Oxidation will result, causing an etching process to occur, which if left can cause a large amount of damage to occur to the platter surfaces.
Should the drive be allowed to dry out, any particles which are stuck to the platter surface, can be extremely difficult to remove without causing further damage. Contrary to what you may think, the drives should be kept wet, to avoid unnecessary damage resulting.
Store Drives in Plastic Container
Our advice is to seal all the hard disk drives into a sealed container before sending them for RAID data recovery. This ensures that the hard drives will not dry out, giving our hardware data recovery specialists the best chance of successfully dismantling, cleaning and reassembling the drives in our data recovery laboratory. This will minimise the risk of any further damage occurring during the data recovery process.
Water Damage RAID Recovery Issues
By ensuring that the RAID array is turned off immediately and the drives are kept wet, our RAID data recovery engineers will have the best chance of a successful data recovery. In many cases, all the data can be recovered without any damage occurring, which is achieved by adhering to a strict set of data recovery guidelines for dismantling and cleaning each hard disk drive.
If the RAID array is being accessed to write data, when it fails or is turned off to avoid further damage, it is highly likely to any such file will be damaged. The success rate of recovering files from a water damage RAID array is extremely high, as long as the drives have not been allowed to dry out. If the RAID array includes redundancy, the chances of a successful recovery are very high.