RAID recovery software comparison

RAID recovery is the detection of RAID configuration of broken hardware or software RAID arrays. RAID recovery tools come in two flavors – those which recover RAID configuration only and those which along with RAID configuration recover filesystem as well. Actually, there is one more group – some RAID recovery tools recover RAID configuration by reading whatever metadata is available. If metadata is corrupt beyond recognition, these cannot work, and I did not include them into this comparison.

Testbed

To test RAID recovery software I used disk image files came from different RAID arrays both hardware and software. Software RAIDs, however, always had their array members aligned at the same offset. If software array members use different offsets and the metadata is lost, the only tool which advertises the capability to detect these would be R-Studio, but even that does not work. As far as RAID level goes, I tested RAID0 and RAID5. Other supported RAID levels listed in the table were taken from the description on the vendor sites. Additionally, some tests for RAID5 were complicated with missing disk and hotspare disks.


Parameter Disk InternalsA ReclaiMe Free RAID RecoveryB RAID ReconstructorC R-studioD ZARE
User experience and price
Price 249.95 USD Free 99 USD 79.99 USD 69.95 USD
Ease of use Complex Easy Complex Complex Average
Recovery time Fast Average Fast Slow Average
Manual parameter input Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Automatic detection - RAID levels
RAID 0 Sometimes1 Yes Yes Sometimes1 Yes
RAID 5 Sometimes1 Yes Yes Yes Yes
RAID 10 No Yes No No Yes
RAID 6 No Yes No Yes No
Automatic detection - options
Delayed parity support No Yes No Yes No
Missing disk detection No Yes No No Yes
Hot spare detection No Yes No No Yes
Output
File-by-file recovery2 Yes No No Yes Yes
Bit-by-bit array image3 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
VHD/X array image 4 No Yes No No No
Textual RAID parameters No Yes Yes No No
A DiskInternals RAID Recovery (x64) 4.1.0.1, www.diskinternals.com
B ReclaiMe Free RAID Recovery build 1945, www.freeraidrecovery.com
C Runtime Raid Reconstructor (Version 4.32), www.runtime.org
D R-Tools Technology R-Studio version 7.7.159562/11.08.2015, www.r-tt.com
E ZAR X build 130, www.z-a-recovery.com

1 Not all configurations in the test were successfully recovered
2 File-by-file means once RAID parameters are detected, another scan is required to process the filesystem and then the files are copied out. This has the advantage of copying exactly as many files as you need, but a disadvantage of losing security attributes, alternate data streams where available, getting extra deleted files, and other issues typically associated with file-by-file recovery.
3 Bit-by-bit array image is only useful in subsequent data recovery (you can feed it to almost any file recovery program); it is not convenient to directly mount this type of image.
4 VHD or VHDX image can be directly mounted in Windows and used as a hard disk. This is however limited to Windows 7 and up, and VHDX format to Windows 8.1 and up.

Copyright © 2015-2017 Alexey V. Gubin