World Backup Day

It’s World Backup Day, folks. That means it’s time for you to look at your data and check that you’re backing it all up to a satisfactory level.

Have a look at the computer you’re sat at. If it’s hard drive(s) broke, irrecoverably, or if it were stolen: what would you lose?

Me? I like my backups to go “offsite”, so I use online redundant storage to shunt my important stuff to (I use a personal Amazon S3 bucket and some software I’ve written for that purpose, but you don’t have to be that geeky to use online backups – just check the World Backup Day website for suggestions). If you’re not quite so paranoid as me, you  might make your backups to CDs or DVDs, or onto a pendrive. It doesn’t take long, and it’s worth it.

Backups are like insurance.

Now go celebrate World Backup Day by making some backups, or by checking that your existing backups restore correctly. You’re welcome.

In Praise Of Dreamhost’s Backup System

I’ve been impressed, again, by Dreamhost, who provide hosting for this and many of my other websites. During a fit of stupidity, I accidentally rm -rf *‘d Abnib Gallery. For those of a less techy nature, I deleted it: pictures and site and all. Whoopsie.

So I thought: perhaps they have a tape backup or something. I filled in their support form, which asks lots of useful questions like “How much do you know about this?”, with options ranging from “I don’t know anything, hold me by the hand,” to “TBH, I probably know more about this than you do!” and a nice scale of rating the urgency, as well as indicating how many calls they’re dealing with right now and a link to an outstanding issues page.

Within half an hour I’d been e-mailed back by a tech support person, who explained in exactly the appropriate level of detail that hourly and daily backups (with grandfather-father-son fallbacks) of everybody’s home directory are made into their hidden .snapshot directory. I took a peep, and lo and behold there was my backup. Very impressed.

Now, if only they’d improve the reliability and speed of their Rails hosting, I’d offer them a round of oral sex.