For all my data (or at least most of it), i've been storing it on a Buffalo TeraStation which is essentially setup as a Raid-5 NAS. So generally, unless something catastrophic happens, well the data is safe.
Well, the lest of the expected catastrophic possible events did happen. The firmware on the hardware apparently got corrupted somehow (not sure if its just a data error or if the flash memory died). So the device is now basically useless. As it will not respond anymore so I cannot even attempt re-flashing it.
In theory, if its just a corrupted firmware, I can still potentially flash the box. But this involves soldering a header on the motherboard and attaching a special JTAG adaptor to it. Not that I don't mind attempting these steps, it does seem somewhat convoluted considering it may not fix the problem. And I would have to order the cable online and who knows how long this will take. At this point, my main worry is the data itself, which can't be replaced if completely lost (I know, I should do a periodic backup even on a "safe" raid box).
Assuming the HDD's are not corrupted, you would assume recovering the data would be pretty straight forward. Well of course, not so easy. According to the following (http://www.terastation.org/wiki/Data_Recovery) the hardware is based on a PowerPC CPU and runs a special version of Linux (and uses the XFS file system). Directly accessing the file system should be easy on a basic Linux box. But the problem comes from the data edian on the PowerPC. Meaning that you can only extract the data on a PowerPC box running Linux (of course everyone has one of those just laying around).
To work around the "need linux" problem, I have found a cool tool named UFS Explorer which essentially allows the exploration of disks formated on other file systems on a windows platform, reconstruct arrays and even undelete files. The tool does support the XFS file system. But it does not seem to recognize my array (probably due to the endian issue again). I have contacted them and maybe the will have a solution for me. Since 90% of my business data is on this disk, I must recover as much as possible!
In the meantime, I am having the tool create a backup image of the disk (in case something goes wrong) and it can do a raw scan of a disk to see what it can recover. So until I hear back from the developers, i'll run through these steps to see what I can find.