Sunday, 15 December 2013

Sure, you have a backup. But can you recover it?

I had a nice little four hour slot between morning family service and evening carol concert today, in which I was going to nip out to the workshop and finish off a couple of the Warbases buildings...

First 'er indoors decided that since James' drum kit and my bass rig were out of the playroom in church, she'd blitz it and clean the floor, which cost me an hour in being required to assist.

Then mysteriously the house server died and refused to reboot. I'm still not entirely convinced it didn't get bumped with the vacuum cleaner (it lives under a desk in the playroom) but I wouldn't dream of suggesting such a thing, of course....

Investigation reveals that the boot drive (a nice newish 64G SSD) is dead. And thus so are the church and club websites and our email, among other things.

Fortunately... I have a backup. Specifically, and by design, the old and mostly identical non-SSD SATA boot drive is still in the case. Its configs are a bit out of date but... guess what? I have a backup of those as well. :D (On Amazon S3, if you must know.)

This /was/ a little hairy, since for one awful moment I thought that the only copy of the passphrase and security keys for the backup was on the dead drive (another lesson learned!)...

Key takeaway though? No-one was ever a hero for taking a backup. You're only a hero if you can restore it afterwards. So if you've been convinced by my previous rants? Go fire up your last backup and check you can read it and restore bits of it if you have to!

6 comments:

  1. Glad it worked out for you

    Ian

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have said similar things in the past.

    These days I build all new servers with paired drives in RAID1 mirrors (yay Linux, FreeBSD can do it too of course, Windows can't because they want you to pay through the nose) and take backups of key data.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The data drives are mirrored (/home, /var/www, /var/mail). I didn't bother on the boot drive because a combination of a reinstall, a backup of the apt selections and of /etc would do the trick.

      Delete
  3. I simply back up files on an external hard drive about once a month.

    My wife's laptop won't switch on and I was able to produce her extensive Christmas Card List from the back up which was a bit of a life saver

    ReplyDelete
  4. Mike - You are our hero! Thanks for restoring service so quickly.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Our 1.5 TB drive burned out, losing a fair amount of stuff. Luckily most of it was backed-up. Now yet again we're having trouble with the PC it came from. I don't think there's any such thing as too much back-up. =(

    ReplyDelete

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