Importance of backups

I heard a high pitch squeal and looked at the server. No lights were flashing. Fear was starting to creep in.

This happened early Monday morning May 3, 2010 and after a little investigation and changing of power supplies I realised that the server was dead. It had, had a reasonable life, with having a motherboard and memory replacement back in 2007. But the hard drives, were a little old.

What was I going to do? I needed to recover this system as it holds my blog server (that runs this blog), main web server, dns and other software. I’d been thinking I needed to replace the hard drives and was contemplating moving everything into the cloud. But I had not gotten there as yet.

I choose the safe option, and after my first appointment, I went for a latte to wait for the computer shop to open. Yes, I purchased a new motherboard, Intel i5 CPU, new hard drives and 4GB of memory. I was praying that I could recover the system with the old drives. I’m always diligent and use two drives in a mirror, so if a single drive fails I do not loose everything.

After a little time rebuilding, I plugged the two old drives in and pressed the power button. The machines beeped at me very loudly. I’d put the second memory stick in the wrong slot. Quickly corrected that issue and tried to power up again. Everything was working fine until it got to the point of booting the Operating System. It just didn’t start. I fiddled around but still no luck.

My worst fears were born true, both hard drives in the mirror were fried. One even had a puff of smoke rise as I was looking at it. At this point I was silently saying little words to myself. Thinking, did I have other backups somewhere.

I found some older backups of part of the system and was able to restore the web site and blog server but I’d lost over a years worth of blog entries. This is where I’m up to now, writing this blog entry and will need to recover my blog posts. I earlier found copies of them on facebook and through google cache for the period I needed. Now that this blogging server is back the google cache will be invalidated. So if you ever find yourself in a similar situation take copies of your blog entries, from where ever you can find them first.

Now the blogging server is back. I’ll be entering in previous blog entries going back to February 2009. If you think you may be rereading entries, I apologies in advance. Please bear with me.

Once complete I’ll back everything up and put it onto multiple machines. Then the next challenge will be creating a hybrid cloud solution so that I have no single point of failure again.

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