Nothing on My Laptop

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I heard this quote at the recent Redgate Summit: "If I drop my laptop in water, I can get everything back." The context of the quote is that all your work, your IP, your code, etc. is saved in some common or duplicate location. Everything essentially has a backup.

I learned the lesson early in my career that keeping one copy around of things was bad. On an old Apple II, I formatted the wrong disk numerous times, necessitating me recreating homework multiple times on a very tight schedule. Over the years, I often made sure I had some backup service, but things really changed for me about ten years ago.

I had a laptop die on me while on the road. I had copies of things in different places, and a backup service, but I had to buy a new machine and get things set up quickly. It was a pain, but I started to adopt the DevOps idea of improving my system and learning what worked. Today's cloud services, as well as package managers (Chocolatey) helped me. A few years ago my laptop blue screened and I had to reformat the drive and rebuild everything for a presentation the next day.

It took my about 3 hours, thanks to code, documents, and more stored and available in different services. These days, I think I was up and running on a new laptop in tens of minutes, and had most of my bits available in Explorer or inside an application in a little over an hour.

These are great habits to ensure I can continue to work, and good for home where I don't want to lose photos or other digital assets.  These are also good ideas for shared work inside an organization, whether on workstations or servers. Don't operate without a way to rebuild systems, including configuration and data, if something fails. Cultivate cattle, not pets, as the DevOps people say.

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