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Fire Damaged Server Systems

It is rare for server systems to be damaged because of fire, particularly as most are located in secure server rooms which employ fire suppression systems. In the event of a severe fire however, this may not be enough to avoid damage occurring, even if the fire suppression system works correctly. Many smaller offices and home users who have a server, are less likely to have such an environment, but even a few large corporations with data centres have suffered damage to servers following a fire.

In the event of a fire, even if it doesn’t infiltrate a server room, it may still cause problems due to heat, smoke or water used to fight the fire. Power may also be lost suddenly unless an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) is used. In such cases, data recovery should always be undertaken by a professional company, such as DiskEng.

Fire Damaged Server

In the event of your server being affected directly by the fire or becoming excessively hot, it is comforting to understand that the materials the platters and the magnetic data layers are extremely durable. It is only in the most extreme circumstances, often when an accelerant is involved that they may become damaged through the heat. Often, the biggest problem facing hard disk drives in servers which have been subjected to fires, is the water which may have been used to extinguish it.

The process of recovering data from a damaged hard disk drive involves dismantling it, cleaning all the components, replacing any which were damaged, before it can be reassembled. The controller board power and interface connectors are highly likely to melt if the temperatures get high enough. If smoke or water was present in the room with the server, it is best to ensure it is powered off and not restarted. Powering up could result in damage to the read/write heads and platters in the hard disk.

If the server became wet as a result of fighting the fire, all drives contained in it should be kept wet. If a wet drive is allowed to dry out, contaminants are liable to settle on the surface of the platters, which can either damage the read/write heads if the drive is powered up. It is also possible that the residue may turn out to be corrosive, which can damage the magnetic recording layer, or result in damage during the cleaning process. The best method of ensuring the drive remains wet, is to sealed inside a plastic container.

Fire Damaged Server Disk Data Recovery

Upon receiving a fire damaged hard drive at our data recovery laboratory, our hardware data recovery specialists will disassemble the drive and clean each of the components thoroughly. Before the drive is reassembled, any damaged components will be replaced. It is important that the cleaning process removes all particles from the surface of the platters, to avoid the chance of the read/write heads contacting them, which could damage the heads and the platters, as they would be likely to bounce. Any such incident would be almost sure to destroy the magnetic recording layer and cause loss of data.

It is fairly rare to receive a fire damage server, but even a server room with fire suppression is unable to afford full protection if the fire is extensive. Even though most servers in the enterprise market, utilise backup procedures, occasionally data recovery may be required. Most fire damaged servers come from other market sectors where servers are implemented, in which backup procedures may be hit and miss, often combined with no fire suppression. All fire damaged hard disk drives, should be sent to a professional data recovery company, as any attempt to recover the data yourself could destroy the entire magnetic recording layer.

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