Accius® case study -don’t let your cloud burst.

The situation

The Accius development server had become unresponsive and failed to re-boot, so Accius started the process of ‘disassembling’ the virtual machine to prepare for launching a new development server.

However, a software engineer at Accius forcibly detached one of the virtual storage volumes from the unresponsive server, which is the same as pulling a cable from an operational volume. When the volume was re-connected to a Windows host, Windows found the volume to be corrupt. Amazon’s technical support advised that the only way to recover the data was to use a data recovery tool or company - so Accius contacted Ontrack who provided a free consultation.

Accius President Douglas Moore said, “Time was business critical and recreating or re-building the development environment would have added an additional two to three days to the project - time we didn’t have. The three days’ labour we had invested would have also gone to waste. We must do all we can to ensure we successfully meet our clients’ expectations.”

The solution

“When I called Ontrack, I was quickly connected to an engineer who spent an hour assessing our data loss situation, considering such factors as how we store our data, the technology and type of data involved, and how we thought the data loss happened,” explained Douglas.

Accius was quickly connected to Ontrack using their proprietary Ontrack® Remote Data Recovery™ (RDR®) process. The RDR engineer was able to repair the damaged cloud storage volume and recover the critical data.

RDR is a patented technology that consists of three main components:

■ Communications Client—Accius initiated a connection to an RDR Server using the specially designed RDR® QuickStart™ software. After installing the application, Accius then selected its internet connection as its mode of communication.

■ RDR Server—Once Accius established a connection with the RDR Server it was then routed to the next available RDR engineer.

■ RDR work station—A specially designed application allowed the RDR engineer to run advanced data recovery tools on Accius’ computer system that lost data. Before beginning the recovery process, the engineer enabled proprietary technologies that track and backup all changes that could be made to the system. This process provided the engineer with the ability to complete the recovery “virtually” before any changes were made to the system. Any changes made could be reversed or modified in order to provide the most complete recovery possible.

The resolution

David Logue, Lead Remote Data Recovery Engineer at Ontrack commented, “Fortunately, we were able to connect to Accius’ virtual cloud system via the internet connection to perform a lab-quality data recovery. Unless the drive is physically or electronically failing, we can perform the same recoveries in RDR as we can in-lab, thereby ensuring the same level of quality, satisfaction and customer service.”

Ontrack was able to recover the data, repair the damaged cloud storage volume and get the project up and running in two hours. The damaged volume was repaired and was accessible immediately upon completion of the recovery, all within four hours of the data loss occurring.

“Ontrack responded quickly to our call for help and also understood that we needed to restore the data quickly to safeguard Accius’ reputation. Ontrack really understands the data recovery business and as one of only a few companies with the expertise to recover data from the cloud, Ontrack will be our first port of call should we require their services in future.”

“To guard against another data loss, Accius is investigating ways to improve its cloud development processes to reflect the change to their IT infrastructure as a result of using cloud-based servers. Virtual systems have to be treated with the same care as SAN or physical hard disks,” commented Logue.

The data loss has also been a learning experience for Accius’ staff who now understand that cloud computing resources are susceptible to real types of failures. The potential for human error to cause data loss is still present in the cloud. A survey in 2009 by Ontrack underscores this further with the finding that 65 percent of data loss in virtual environments is the result of human error.

“Pinning down the different types of data loss scenarios with your cloud provider before you commit to their storage solution can be valuable in preventing or addressing issues”, said Logue. “Accius is just one of several organisations we have helped who have experienced data loss in the cloud. As more companies choose cloud storage solutions for their data there is the potential for data losses to increase”, said Logue.