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Crash and Burn

By Steve Jones,

Coding Horror, one of the blogs I follow, had a crash recently. I noticed it from Jeff Atwood's tweets, and when I checked, his site it was down. The story was picked up many places, including Data Center Knowledge and the image below is what I saw when I went to the site:

CodingHorror down

He also had posted a query on Superuser about recovering his data. It's back up now, but it was a hard lesson for him to learn, and a little embarrassing for someone that's running a programming site teaching people how to better build systems.

Jeff wrote up more details on the event and actions taking, including blaming himself for the issues. That's appropriate and it makes sense. It's also a funny read since he references some of his own advice that he had not taken. We are responsible for our own data, and I'll pause writing for a minute while I go make sure my data is backed up! Yep, I'm safe, everything backed up to another machine.

You never know when you are going to run into an issue, and with so many companies distributing the responsibilities for backups to separate groups, it's easy to assume someone else will take care of things for you. However as this story shows, you need to double check things. You need to ensure that backups are really being made. And there's one good way to do that.

Perform a restore.

I've written about it before, but I'll say it again. Backups don't really matter; restores do.  Unless you can actually restore the data, the backup, or the process of doing a backup, doesn't matter. The only way to be sure your database, your VMs, or even the picture of you from last summer's vacation is safe is to perform a restore.

I just did one, deleting an old editorial from my machine and then pulling it back from my Windows Home Server. You might try doing one today as well, especially for those critical files.

Steve Jones

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