Apple XServe / Xsan Data Recovery

Apple XServe RAID and Xsan Data Recovery


Protech offers 24 hour Apple XServe RAID and Xsan data recovery services. Although Apple discontinued the Xsan and Xserve, a lot of fans still use it to run OS X Lion. A survey showed that 65 percent of respondents planned to continue using Xsans and Xserves. Both Apple’s Xsan and Xserve utilizes a wide variety of RAID levels, and Protech Data Recovery offers services backed by many years of engineering experience with Apple Xsan and XServe RAID servers for every configuration.

The most common configuration is a standard stripe set with parity ( RAID 5). The default RAID stripe size is 64k (128 sectors), and data is striped across all of the disks with a parity block that rotates between the drives; this parity block uses the XOR algorithm.

If one disk fails in a standard RAID 5, the RAID controller card can default to degraded mode and the server can continue to operate without interruption. Data recovery may be necessary if there is corruption within essential parity blocks or if a second drive fails while the array is operating in a degraded state. Additional data loss issues include failed firmware upgrades, RAID controller card failures, and natural disasters.

Xserve also supports hardware RAID levels 0, 1, 3, and 0+1. RAID levels 10, 30, and 50 are available, but these levels must be supported supported using host-based software RAID. Our engineers have experience with every configuration, including options not supported by Xserve hardware, and each of our laboratories is completely outfitted for Xserve data recovery.


When the Xserve was last updated in 2009, the Xserve was similarly powered to the Mac Pro. Today’s Mac Pros have surpassed the Xserve, but the latter is generally good for the same uses as the Mac Pro, running multiple services for hundreds of users. You may still need additional servers to run some services for very large networks, but the Xserve is better suited than the Mac Pro to a growing network because you can easily upgrade the processors.

The Xserve is also built for mission-critical situations. If you absolutely can’t afford to have any server downtime due to hardware failure, the Xserve is better than the Mac Pro. You may never have to shut down an Xserve. Unlike the Mac Pro, however, the Xserve isn’t well suited for sitting in the middle of an office or classroom because of the noise factor. Xserves are designed to be located in a data center or a ventilated telecom closet.

Pros:The Xserve has a similar set of expansion slots and high-end hardware options. But the Xserve does have some advantages over the Mac Pro:

Features to keep it running and reduce downtime.

  • An option of redundant power supply: if one power supply fails, the other takes over. Simply pull out a power supply and replace it — without shutting down the Xserve.
  • *Hot-swappable hard drives: If a drive fails, you can pull out of Xserve without shutting it down or opening it. However, it has only three drive bays; the Mac Pro has four.
  • *Temperature measurement: You can read the temperature from Lion Server’s admin tools and set the software to send you an alarm if the Xserve gets too hot.

Processors that are officially user-upgradeable. Upgrade instructions are on Apple’s support site. Search for Xserve processor and manuals for the different Xserve models appear.

  • A removable lid that gives you easy access to everything inside.
  • Mountable in a standard 19-inch rack.

Cons: Discontinued – You can no longer buy an Xsan and Xserve, or parts, from Apple. However, new parts are still available if you Google around.

  • Only three hard drive bays: The Xserve has one less than the Mac Pro. This is still a lot of storage but not enough to support an internal RAID 0+1, as can the Mac Pro.
  • Heat: The Xserve gets very hot and requires adequate ventilation. You’ll be fine if you put it in a standard equipment rack, but think twice about stuffing it in a small, unventilated closet.
  • Form factor: The long, flat shape is good for a rack but bad for an office or classroom setting.
  • Noise: The Xserve is noisy and distracting sitting in the middle of an office or a classroom. If this is the only place for your server, consider the Mac Pro instead.

All of our engineers are Apple Xsan and Xserve data recovery certified experts with years of experience in performing Storage Area Network recovery.

  • Certified Engineers
  • Trusted & Secure: HIPPA & PCI compliant
  • Lowest Price Guaranteed
  • ISO 5 Class 100 clean room
  • Propriety Tools & Techniques
  • Highest Recovery Percentages in the industry
  • No Data, No Charge: If for any reason we are unable to recover your data, there’s no charge.

Common Apple Xsan and Xserve Failures

Physical Apple Xsan and Xserve RAID Server Failure

Physical failure of your Apple Xsan and Xserve controllers and RAID controllers fail just like any other electronic device. These failures can take place at any time leaving you scrambling to recover your data. When a Apple Xsan and Xserve controller fails, it can result in a lost RAID configuration, false positive drive failures and more. This can include the failure of the following components: RAM, power supply, motherboard or backplane. Regardless of the Apple Xsan and Xserve failure, our experienced engineers can recover your data.

Logical Failure of Apple Xsan and Xserve

Logical failures are when the operating system becomes corrupted. This could be caused by a virus attack, improper shutdown due to a power surge or power failure, an update that was performed or user error that caused damage the operating system to the point where it fails to boot, boots in a loop, blue screens, etc. At this point, you have no access to your data and you need to speak with one of our Xsan and Xserve engineers to determine what to do next.

User Error

Whether the data on your network attached storage device was accidentally deleted or the Apple Xsan and Xserve RAID configuration got corrupted or formatted, there’s is a very good chance we can still recover all your files. If a user error occurs, its vitally important for you to stop using it and turn it off. Everything you do after the initial problem greatly reduces the chances of a 100% successful recovery.

Physical Hard Drive Failure of Apple Xsan and Xserve RAID Hard Drives

Physical hard drive failure is when the mechanical parts of one or more of the hard drives in your Xsan and Xserve fail. Mechanical failure like these usually require clean room work to successfully recover your data. If one of your APPLE Xsan and Xserve RAID member drives suffer a mechanical failure, you need professional data recovery services to recover your critical files. Our engineers have the experience, tools and equipment to repair your Apple Xsan and Xserve RAID member hard drive and quickly recover your files in our class 100 clean room.

What to do when your Xsan and Xserve RAID fails.

  • Do not run any chkdsk options like Disk Utilities. These utilities can corrupt or destroy your file system.
  • Do not try to rebuild the RAID array. Doing so can wipe out data needed to recover the data you are seeking.
  • Do not remove several failed drives at once hoping to reinitialize the array.
  • Do not lose the correct order of the drives in the array.
  • Do not try to repair any damaged drives yourself.

In some instances me may not need the entire Xsan and Xserve server or device and just need the hard drives themselves. If we request for you to send the drives only, be sure when removing the drives to label them in the correct order when preparing to ship them out. This saves us time when virtually rebuilding the array. Find out what time of RAID array you were using, what kind of server, what filesystem, and operating system. If possible which drives are bad, and which drive failed last.

**Important** We need all original disks that were in the array the last time it was operating normally.

While most all data recovery companies don’t offer a free diagnostic when receiving the Apple Xsan and Xserve RAID because of the many hours involved, we offer our ONE RATE fees for Apple Xsan and Xserve RAID data recovery. A Storage Area Network recovery specialist will gather information from you over the phone to give you a general idea of what you can expect. Even though Apple Xsan and Xserve RAID recovery falls under our ONE RATE fees, the cost will fluctuate base on the possibilities. Our ONE RATE fee structure will by far beat any price out there. Please call us before attempting to repair the Apple Xsan and Xserve RAID yourself which could end up destroying it.

What You Can Expect during your Apple Xsan and Xserve Data Recovery Process:

  • You will be assigned a personal service representative for your project who will guide you through the process.
  • The data recovery process can take 7 to 10 business days based on many factors, see below.
  • The assigned service representative will be in daily communication with the data recovery technician working on your case and keep you up-to-date with the recovery progress.

How Long Does Apple Xsan and Xserve RAID Recovery Take?

One of the first questions we get asked by most customers is “How long will the recovery take?”. Unfortunately there is no clear cut answer to that question, as each case is different. Many Apple Xsan and Xserve arrays can be rebuilt in only a day or two. However here are some factors to consider that may affect the overall time frame of the data recovery.

Hardware Condition – A drive that is fully functional is much faster to recover data from than one that is severely damaged and must be repaired. So cases that are simply related to accidental deletion, format, viruses, etc. are generally pretty quick on the turnaround. Usually within 24 to 48 hours for most cases, however there are times when it takes longer. Drives needing hardware recovery generally take about 7 to 10 days, but can take longer based on other factors below.

Drive / Apple Xsan and Xserve RAID Array Size – Even if a drive is fully functional a 4Tb drive will take as much as 20 hours to perform a single scan, and a typical recovery may involve several scans to effectively find all files. Also as a professional data recovery lab, we always clone the drive first to prevent any possibility of accidents while working with the data. As a rule of thumb expect an extra day for drives larger than 500Gb or a few days for drives larger than 2Tb. Plus for very large Apple Xsan and Xserve arrays, there can be substantial time.

Number of Failed Drives – In striped Apple Xsan and Xserve RAID arrays the number of failed drives can affect the turnaround time as well. When there are multiple failures all drives must be analyzed to determine which hard drive(s) went offline first so that the correct data is used during the rebuild.

Availability of Donor Parts – For drives with hardware issues, parts are often needed to repair the drive to a semi-functional condition where the data can be successfully extracted. Some hard drive sub-models are very common and easy to find the parts from one of our vendors. However others are not. At times we may even have to spend weeks searching online and calling other data recovery labs for the specific drive or parts we need. Or we may even have to buy a donor drive from overseas and wait for it to arrive. Usually this is the longest part of the whole process for hardware level recoveries.

Functionality of Drive After Repair – Many makes of hard drives don’t take kindly to replacement parts, and don’t function anywhere near their full potential after an internal repair. As drives write magnetic data on a microscopic level, even the slightest micro variation (or micro jog) in manufacturing of parts may cause the drive to constantly have to re-read data over and over. While rare, some drives can take a month or more to extract all the data after such internal repairs.

Pricing for Apple Xsan and Xserve RAID Data Recovery?

Our Xsan and Xserve RAID data recovery prices are based on the number of drives in your Apple Xsan and Xserve RAID array, drive capacity, type of drives, type of failure, file and system type. Even though Apple Xsan and Xserve RAID recovery falls under our ONE RATE fees, the cost will fluctuate base on the possibilities. Still, our prices are the best in the industry. We will match or beat any reputable data recovery company’s price for Apple Xsan and Xserve RAID data recovery, that’s our lowest price guarantee.

How Do I Get My Data Back After Recovery?

Upon completion of the recovery, you are welcome to provide your own return media. For Apple Xsan and Xserve RAID arrays, they would generally be a high capacity external hard drive. Or, if you’d prefer you can purchase a new external hard drive from us at a competitive price and we’ll copy the data to that. For very large Apple Xsan and Xserve arrays containing large amounts of data, arrangements may be necessary to copy the data onto a Storage Area Network or other enclosure with Apple Xsan and Xserve RAID functions. Please contact us for more details if you require recovery from such an array.

To get started…

Call and speak with a Protech RAID specialist regarding your RAID 0 Data Recovery options. The specialist will need to gather some information from you in order to provide you with a ONE RATE fee to start, and then answer any questions you may have. Call 24/7 Toll Free at: (877) 967-3548.

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