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Buffalo RAID Data Recovery

June 23, 2014

Buffalo Technology is one of the leading developers of RAID, NAS, and other server tech, and was one of the first companies to introduce affordable versions of these system types for small offices and home computers. Products from Buffalo are consistently well reviewed and offer great redundancy, which makes data loss unlikely. In some situations, however, a drive failure, power surge, or user error may make data inaccessible, and data recovery is necessary.

Buffalo Terastation Recovery Process
Depending on the type of Buffalo system, our data recovery process can take several paths. In most cases, Buffalo Terastation devices are recovered in-lab. Once all of the hard drives have been properly imaged twice, a RAID specialist will then work to “de-stripe” the disks. “De-stripe” is a term used by us to describe taking the data out of it’s array state and putting it into a single volume or file. is the only data recovery company that images all hard drives twice before beginning the de-striping process. While time consuming, this ensures the highest possible chance of recovering your data.

Remote Recovery Options
Because of the high level of complexity involved, most Buffalo LLC cases are recovered on site. This is especially true when a hard drive failure caused the data loss. In addition, recovery from any type of Linux-based NAS device can be dangerous without first making block-by-block clones of every hard drive in the device.

Regardless of whether data recovery is carried out remotely or in-lab, our rule of thumb is to make sure the entire process is non-destructive.

Buffalo Terastation Error Codes
Buffalo NAS and RAID devices often display an error code through the LED light panel on the front of the device. The LED will use several long blinks followed by several short blinks to indicate which error the device is detecting.

BuffaloTerastationIf your Buffalo device is displaying an error message, data recovery may be necessary, depending on the severity of the problem that caused the error. For instance, a Buffalo device with an E15 error indicates that one or more of the disks in the device have failed; depending on the level of redundancy, this may result in serious data loss, and data recovery on the failed disk may be required. E16 is a similar error which indicates that one or more of the device’s hard drives cannot be found (a full failure of a hard drive’s electronics board can cause this type of error). Other data loss related error messages are E22, E12, E17, and E21, and E04.

Buffalo devices (and in particular, Buffalo Terastation NAS devices) will also often display on-screen codes to indicate errors. “An error in a RAID Array has been detected,” for instance, is displayed on many Linkstation RAID devices when the array cannot properly initialize and data cannot be read. This message is usually displayed on the software included with a Buffalo RAID array, and may also read “Error has occurred in RAID array” followed by the number of the array that is unreadable.

When one of these error messages is displayed, there’s usually a high probability of full recovery, as Buffalo servers and storage devices are designed to prevent permanent data loss. However, it’s very important to turn off your Buffalo advice until you’re able to speak with a trained data recovery engineer, as many hard drive related issues can become more severe as a device attempts to operate normally.

Buffalo Terastation Failure Modes
While Buffalo products are one the most reliable quality NAS devices made today, like any other electronic device, they sometimes fail. In most cases, Buffalo Terastation NAS failure or data loss occurs due to:

  • Firmware or hardware failure
  • User error such as NAS re-configuration
  • Hard disk failure
  • Power problem or disconnection during firmware update

In almost every case above, it is entirely possible to recover the data with a success rate in our labs of more than 97%. Buffalo devices support several different storage configurations, which provide the end-user with different data protection levels and different recovery chances after NAS failure: Multi-part storage: each drive has own dedicated file system that is mounted under dedicated ‘share’ folder. Single drive failure causes single ‘share’ folder loss.

  • RAID 5: This is the most popular an the default for most terastations. Data is distributed across the drives using backward parity rotation. This configuration is fast but space equal to one drive’s capacity is lost. In most cases (unless drive causes failure of unit power supply), the unit will continue to operate in degraded mode even after single drive failure.
  • JBOD: Data is spanned along all disks. This ensures full storage capacity and fair performance. Single drive failure may cause all data loss. This is the default configuration for some devices.
  • RAID 0: Data is distributed across the drives. This is the best-performing configuration with maximum capacity. A single drive failure causes loss of all the data. This method is not as common but still used often.
  • RAID 10/0+1: Two stripes are mirrored. This configuration provides great speed but only half of the potential storage capacity. This configuration is rarely used on Terastation devices.

Supported Devices

Data recovery is supported on all Buffalo devices, including the following:

  • LinkStation™ Pro
  • LinkStation™ Mini
  • Linkstation™ Duo
  • Linkstation™ Quad
  • LinkStation™ Live
  • Buffalo TeraStation™
  • Buffalo TeraStation™ Duo
  • Buffalo TeraStation™ III
  • Buffalo TeraStation™ Pro (and all similar RAID and NAS devices) Buffalo Drive Station™

Other devices from Buffalo Technology are typically supported for data recovery procedures. If you have a device that isn’t listed, call us at 1.800.237.4200 to discuss data recovery options or send us an email. Or read more about our NAS data recovery service here.

Buffalo Partner Program
While recovery situations from Buffalo devices are rare, has a partner relationship with Buffalo Technologies Product Support group. If you utilize our service, Buffalo will send a replacement device to to replace your in-warranty failed NAS device. Please call for more details.

Buffalo Linkstation & Terastation Recovery Tips
As mentioned above, chances of a successful recovery are much higher if a device is turned off immediately when an error is detected. Contact a data recovery engineer at 1.800.237.4200 with a full description of your device’s symptoms leading up to and after the failure. Our engineers can assess whether remote data recovery is possible and can guide you through the next steps. Call us now at 1.800.237.4200 for a free consultation.

*Buffalo, terastation, linkstation, are trademarks or registered trademarks of Buffalo Technology (USA), Inc. Buffalo Technology (USA), Inc. is not affiliated with, Inc. in any way. All product names, registered trademarks, and trademarks are the property of their respective owners.