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By: Guy Fanse

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Monday, 8-Sep-2014 11:16 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Whatever happened to my BBC micro model B ?

The BBC Micro is, somehow, 33 years old.



If you know what I'm talking about then you're probably around the same age as me. The BBC micro model B (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BBC_Micro) was the de-facto computer for schools when I was growing up. Most of us at home had ZX-Spectrums (http://www.worldofspectrum.org/), early adopters started off with the 16K version because the wait for the 48k version was months and months. I had a 16k Spectrum that I had to upgrade to 48k because I wanted to play The Hobbit on it (http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/technology-science/technology/zx-spectrum-top-10-online-802943).

To those of you who don't know, The Hobbit was a quantum leap in computer gaming, games previous to The Hobbit were in general poor. I remember games by a company called Silversoft that were quite good though. Anyway, the best game of the time wasn't immediately available on the ZX Spectrum, that game was Elite and it was only available on the BBC micro. From memory you have to have a model B to run it because it also needed 48k.

The idea of Elite was that you were a space captain and you could go around the galaxy visiting places, trading your way up to getting better stuff and blasting lots of things you didn't like. Quality. Several years later I remember reading somewhere that Elite was eventually ported across to the Spectrum, but by then I'd moved on and discovered other things like girls, beer and heavy rock.

So what ever did become of my BBC micro? I really can't remember, I probably traded it for some LPs or a guitar.


Monday, 18-Aug-2014 10:19 Email | Share | | Bookmark
NAS Hard Drive Data Recovery

NAS hard drives are a very popular addition to many IT environments but what happens if your NAS becomes faulty and you need the data recovered from it? There are man options for NAS data recovery and in this article we’ll explore the options available.

NAS hard drive are available from many manufacturers including Buffalo (LinkStation and TeraStation), DLink, LaCie (now part of Seagate), Lenovo (formerly Iomega) StorCentre, Netgear ReadyNAS, QNAP, Seagate Blackarmour, Synology RackStation, SnapServer, Thecus, WD (WD). At the heart of each NAS is a collection of hard drives, often using either an RAID 0, RAID 1 or RAID 5 configuration. For a more in depth understanding of NAS hard drives take a look at Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Network-attached_storage).

RAID and NAS
The larger NAS hard drives (usually 4 disks or more) are built using RAID 5 architecture. RAID 5 is the common data storage standard for larger NAS hard drives and it means that one of the hard drives in the NAS can fail completely without the NAS losing any data - so it’s a great way of providing a built in safety net. Smaller 2 disk NAS hard drive systems using either RAID 1 that duplicates the data on each drive (known a mirroring), or RAID 0 that writes half of one file to one disk and the other half to the other disk (known as striping). Striping can be dangerous because it only needs one disk to fail for the entire NAS to fail and the data to be lost. RAID 0 is used by those requiring high data transfer speeds (typically people who use large files) while RAID 1 is popular in home environments. Whichever RAID level your NAS hard drive uses, if things go wrong and you loose your data you’ll need a RAID data recovery service to get it back.

NAS Data Recovery Services
NAS data recovery is a service that is highly specialised. Retrieving the data from broken NAS hard drives, particularly ones that use RAID is a complex task and is not something to trust to a PC shop or IT company. You need a RAID and NAS specialist, someone who understands the NAS hard drive you have and will be able to recover the data from it correctly. The web is filled with horror stories from people and companies who have had non NAS specialists try to restore their data only for them to find that the company loose their data as they did not known how to retrieve the data correctly. My own personal recommendation or a decent NAS data recovery specialist would be Data Clinic (http://www.dataclinic.co.uk/nas-data-recovery/), a well known UK company who specialist in NAS hard drive restoration, repair and recovery services. Many positive reviews of Data Clinic are available on line, just search the web.

Summary
So remember that NAS hard drives are complex pieces of equipment and when they go wrong recovering the files and folders from them is the job of a NAS specialist, not a high street shop or IT company who don’t understand NAS or RAID complexities.[img]


Thursday, 24-Apr-2014 12:02 Email | Share | | Bookmark
RAID's

For the majority of companies of all sizes, data storage and access is extremely crucial to the accomplishment of the business. Every year, the total amount of data being processed by companies is enormously growing making it more and more crucial to get systems in place to manage those data loads. A Redundant Array of Independent Disks (RAID) is a perfect option for all companies that process a lot of data and info, however there are several types of RAID to pick from. This page will focus on the benefits and uses of RAID 5, and will also highlight possible scenarios for failure.

What Is A RAID?

RAID levels go from 0 to 6, with current systems being capable of nesting and combining a range of levels within one set-up. RAID levels are consistently shown using a number, e.g., RAID 0, RAID 1, etc., and every one is widely diverse from the other. Fundamentally a RAID is a software and hardware system which enables computer data to be written to several hard disks. The reason behind this is to either amplify the pace at which information is written to or read from the storage system, or to provide data redundancy and dependability, or a combination of both.

There are 2 terms that can define each RAID level's function these are mirroring and striping, both have distinct functions that they'll perform. Striping is the action of writing a single file to multiple drives in small pieces, if there were 2 hard drives within a RAID array the file would be split into 2 and written to both hard drives, doing this offers a fast write speed but in the most basic sort doesn't provide any safety from redundancy. Mirroring is where data is written to 2 or more drives in the same style, each drive is going to be the same as the other because they all hold the same data, mirroring allows for a substantially higher read performance when loads of users would like to access identical data, in addition, it supplies increased integrity as the loss of a single hard drive doesn't really mean that the data on the failed drive is lost as it will be restored by the other drives

What Is A RAID 5?

This particular type of RAID utilises striping to enhance read performance but additionally provides fault tolerance and redundancy in the event of a drive failure. This is achieved by having parity bit data stored across the hard drives in the RAID; if one disk fails it can be reconstructed using the data stored on the other drives.

Benefits of RAID 5 as a Business Option

There are 3 main advantages :
1) Fast read speed
2) Optimise storage use
3) Safety against drive failure

The quick read speed makes this system perfect for data archiving systems and any company area that accesses specific information on an incredibly routine basis. Yet, write speed is decreased compared to other RAID's, as the additional parity bit data must be written along with the core data. If your own company has data that is not modified on a regular basis, yet also is read by several users and systems, then RAID 5 is maybe a perfect solution for your business. Yet, you need to do need to be alert to possible system failures.

RAID 5 Failures

With a RAID 5 if one hard drive fails then it is vital the broken drive is replaced with a new drive as soon as possible because when the hard drive isn't changed it causes harmful issues since it's costly to get data regained, if another hard drive fails. When one hard drive fails the RAID array enters a critical state where read and write rate is reduced significantly nonetheless it's still possible to read and write to and from the hard drive. Bear in mind that RAID's are not a back-up solution they are always there to provide fault tolerance.

In case your business processes plenty of data as well as the speed of being capable to access that data is vital to the success of the company then RAID 5 is possibly one of the finest solutions you can go for. It has some amount of built in redundancy protection as explained above, and you'll visit a substantial increase in the speed where information can be accessed by your RAID arrays.[url]


Wednesday, 19-Mar-2014 13:25 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Latest Hard Drive Developments

In the world of hard drives, there are always new developments; Here I’ll discuss just a few of them by different companies.

LaCie:
You can now buy LaCie external drives with Seagate 5Tb drives inside. Seagate achieved this amount of storage space by means of the new technology Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR) – This allows more tracks on the platters of the drives and partially overlaps them to store more data on!

You will soon be able to get a 5 bay NAS box with 5 of these drives and a total capacity space of 25Tb. As a single drive however, the 5Tb external will use the thunderbolt connection to enable very fast data transfer speeds and will be based off the design of the “D2” series of LaCie drives.

These drives have not yet been released publicly but information has been announced by TechWeekEurope. The standard 1TB/in2 of platter surface has been broke by this new technology! These drives will spin at 7200RPM, which is pretty significant for such a large storage space.

The estimate data transfer speed it 785 MBps. They are optimised for constant fast read and write cycles and along with a Mac Pro, would be desirable by the new Mac Pros.



Toshiba:
Toshiba have announced a new series of hard drive, known as “MG04”. These hard drives have Enterprise features, meaning high-end stuff! This new series of drives uses another new technology (4K advanced format – not 4K the resolution). This technology means that in one sector, there is not 512 bytes of data to be held, but 3 times as much (4096 bytes). This is the reason that more storage space is able to fit in less space. This new method is more suitable for storing large files, but less so for smaller files.

These drives offer 205 MBps transfer speed with the platters rotating at 7200 RPM. In the event of a sudden power outage, these drives have persistent write cache that helps out in these situations.

Toshiba say that this will save electricity in powering more drives and in effect save money for the person who buys it.




Western Digital
Western Digital have gone for something completely different, they have implemented helium into a hard drive. This is to reduce the turbulence of the spinning platters, as it copes a lot better with it in helium than oxygen and carbon dioxide. This new drive (Ultrastar He6) is a 6Tb storage drive. This new drive is cooler and saves more energy than standard 4 Tb drives.



With all these latest developments, hard drives are becoming more and more common, on the other hand, companies that specialise in dealing with
broken hard drives
may find it more interesting than anyone else.[img]


Wednesday, 26-Feb-2014 10:59 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Servers and data.

As a man who worked as a graphics designer for a few years, I know about hard drives, but recently I was thinking about servers and how they are more vital to businesses than single hard drives (because they potentially store everyone's data!). As you might have guessed, The majority of companies use a server, whether it's for storing work or to hook up to the internet. Basically, servers certainly are a slim and tall apparatus that enable you to store and send data to and from areas. A server is composed of many different components, with which I shall talk about in this post.



Servers are most likely to have been set-up by in-house or outsourced INFORMATION technology technicians. These folks will understand about your server and the how and exactly why they have set it up the way they have. They will be the ones to turn to in case there is an issue (if it's not overly intense ).

Probably the most important function to a host is where data is saved. Also the server itself is very important. If you visit a server, you might be shocked by simply exactly how many cables there are joined to the various areas. To begin with, each joining apparatus must be fed through a switch, and then a firewall (piece of computer software/hardware that stops dangers from penetrating your network).



Many folks concern themselves predominantly with the area of storage space. These are ordinarily is composed of a selection of hard drives which is viewed as a network location as one volume. In regards to hard drives, there are many different sizes and different capacities; you're going to have had ones picked for you that match the demands of your company.

What would it be like to have a disk fail on you, if your company was merrily working away off this server? Instantly, you'd want to understand how to get the server back online so you can all get back to work. First thing you might do is contact individuals inside the INFORMATION technology department, or whoever it was that established up the server.



The INFORMATION technology department might be able to give you an indication of what's wrong, if the hard drives have failed you are more than likely to need a Data Recovery professional. This is because of the fact that RAIDS have become complex and shouldn't be attempted to be messed with if the man doesn't understand what they're doing. As soon as you can, there are several Businesses that may recover your data for those who have lost it, you need to contact them.

When they have been working normally, servers are superb. When they fail yet, they can be amazingly frustrating. As you know it is known to be amazingly devastating for companies to lose a server as they may stop to function while the server is offline. It must be stated when the INFORMATION technology folks are unsure on what to do, you then should contact a reputable data recovery firm that understand about RAIDs and servers instantaneously.


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