Case Studies

Data Recovery from Crashed Heads

A "head crash" occurs when the heads of a hard disk drive.....read more >>

Seismic Data Conversion

A data acquisition client approached us with their 3D marine.....read more >>

Failed RAID Array

Where two drives simultaneously fail or the RAID is degraded.....read more >>

Half Inch Tape

One of our customers approached us with a half inch IBM.....read more >>

Data Forensics

ACPO Guidelines for Electronic Evidence.....read more >>

Magneto Optical Drives

DICOM (Digital Imaging and Communication in Medicine) has become the standard medical image format.....read more >>

Sticktion Problems

When Regal Petroleum wanted to revisit seismic surveys.....read more >>

Electronic/Firmware Failure

When the external electronic components have.....read more >>
 
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Seismic 3D Marine Survey

A data acquisition client approached us with their 3D marine survey off the Portuguese coast, taken in SEG-D (Unix OS) and recorded on IBM3592 300GB tapes. Their clients required two copies of the raw SEG-D data on hard disk drive. Each input tape contained one line of data, but each of their clients was only entitled to a certain shot point range and not the full line.

SEG-D is the most complicated of field formats to date. Firstly, it can contain either multiplexed or de-multiplexed data and secondly, it has so many variants and optional parts that it can vary greatly from one set of instruments to another. Our client's format contained shot point event time, source identifiers and latitude and longitude for the shot point. This is particularly useful for the QC of 3D processing.

We were requested to extract specific shot point ranges from the original tapes and create a partial dataset for their clients. This can be done onboard the survey vessel, but does create a significant workload for crew.

Partial tape shipments were received over a three week survey period. Whilst IBM stopped selling these drives in September 2006, we still support a range of compatible tape drives and were able to extract all the data without any data recovery issues. Once the data was extracted to our servers, we used the shot point range supplied by the client, to create the partial datasets and copies. All 250 tapes were successfully created, indexed and shipped to the client within 4 weeks of survey.

Degraded Half Inch IBM Tape

One of our customers approached us with a half inch IBM tape, which had been archived 25 years earlier. They were unable to access the data and it was suspected that the media had degraded. They were looking to recover seismic surveys that had been stored in a TAR format. TAR is commonly used to collect many files into one larger file for archiving, while preserving file system information such as user and group permissions, dates, and directory structures.

The recovery was exasperated by the fact that firstly the tape had delaminated - a common problem with media from the 1980s, where the manufacturing quality deteriorated. Secondly the data was spilt into 80 byte block headers and trailers, which were not part of the data. These were tape label identifiers, needed when the tape is read.

The surface of the tape was sticking to the heads and guides of the tape transport. This is caused when tape binders absorb moisture, often due to poor storage. Ironically, the way we solved this problem was firstly to de-spool the tape, soak in fresh water and cure in a specialist oven for 72 hours at 130 degrees.

Once we were able to extract the data, we were then confronted with the problems of the block headers and trailers. In order to make this data usable, we had to manipulate the information by stripping out the unwanted code. Upon completion the data was verified and copied out in uncompressed TAR format to dvd.

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