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Data Recovery From XFS

XFS File System

Recovering data from the XFS File System (as used by Buffalo, Synology and Iomega-Lenovo)

Introduced by Silicon Graphics International in 1993, the XFS file system is scalable, powerful and fast. It is widely used by the scientific and research community who need to process high volumes of data relatively quickly. For example, the world renowned CERN research institute and NASA both use XFS extensively for their “big data” projects.

There are many attributes of the XFS file system that make it suitable for processing high volumes of data at a relatively fast speed. The use of Allocation Groups means that multiple I/O requests can be executed simultaneously. Using a process known as Direct I/O, data from the file system can be processed directly from the host’s RAM, which negates the need for a cache or processor request. XFS is also very clever in the way that it handles unused file space. A lot of files will just contain zeros. XFS, hating to see wasted space, allocates this space to store metadata. The moment the file is accessed, the file will revert back to its original size. Furthermore, XFS uses online defragmentation. Non-contiguous data blocks are converted to continuous blocks on-the-fly. These attributes make XFS a very efficient file system but, like any file system, it can get corrupted.

Data recovery from the XFS file system

The “xfs_repair” command can be used to successfully repair errors in a corrupt XFS volume. However, when problems exist with the RAID array configuration, or when there are hardware problems with the disks, other avenues to recovery have to be explored.

You can attempt to rebuild the RAID array, but if there are hardware problems with your disks, such as head disk assembly, bad sectors or PCB issue, these will have to be resolved first.


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