Blog Necromancy

At last! I've resurrected the dead. Or, at the very least, I've resurrected this blog from its permanent demise.

As I'm sure you know by now, the harddrive in the server that hosts this blog crashed, taking all of the current data with it. Suffice it to say, I had no backups of the critical component - the databases. Without those, the site is dead. Rotting corpse on the ground and all. The dead drive got taken to a data recovery place in Irvine where I was told the drive was "mechanically sound" but the data could not be retrieved because the servo track had been corrupted or destroyed. A few opinions later from different firms more or less confirmed that recovery under these conditions would have required an expensive miracle. On the order of $4000.

All was not completely lost though. As I was scouring Google for the remains of the blog to preserve the lost posts, comments, and other stuff, I remembered that the server upgrades from February resulted in swapping out the harddrives. Sure enough, I still had the drives and all the data on them. So a complete and utter disaster became just a disaster.

You'll likely find that your RSS readers have all gone nuts, listing things on dates you previously had elsewhere, and URLs you thought led to a particular post may lead to a different one entirely. If you've linked to any of them elsewhere, they need to be changed. This happened mainly because I reposted everything without recreating the gaps in the database ID numbers for them. The photo gallery is going to be especially plagued by this since the Oblivion section was reposted in the order the files were stored on my Windows box. I'm sure Google and the other search engines won't be too thrilled with this either.

The and sites both suffered about 8 months worth of data loss, which aren't going to be retrieved from Google unless someone wishes to volunteer time to do so. Getting back ~105 blog posts and ~600 comments was hard enough and has taken pretty much an entire week's worth of time. Both sites lost substantially more information than that in 8 months. Not to mention the fact that it also cost Alsherok, and all of the other customers on the Boralis box that same 8 months worth of work. Cleanup on this mess may linger for a month or two.

The lesson we should all learn from this is pretty clear. Make backups. Not just database dumps left in the site directories either. Actual backups of the entire home directory AND database dumps, so that restoration after a disaster takes minutes, not days or weeks. Automate the task somehow so you don't stop doing it. Because you'll become complacent thinking that it isn't needed anymore. But that's exactly when disaster will strike.
"It is pointless to resist, my son." -- Darth Vader
"Resistance is futile." -- The Borg
"Mother's coming for me in the dragon ships. I don't like these itchy clothes, but I have to wear them or it frightens the fish." -- Thurindil

Well. I guess that's that then.

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Posted on Oct 13, 2007 1:02 pm by Samson in: | 4 comment(s) [Closed]
For some reason my commen cookie's not auto-filling my name and homepage anymore, but otherwise, gratz on a great recovery job the hard way (since the easy way wasn't an option).

I'm not sure why it isn't maintaining the autofill, it could be because of something to do with the cookies. It isn't even remembering mine. So naturally of course in trying to get rid of the cookies I blasted them all away because Firefox's UI is less than friendly in some places. :)

Ah, well that was a stupid error. The template for the comment form was missing the author and url data so they weren't being read back properly. You'll probably have to enter it one more time before it'll get remembered again ( this goes for everyone btw ) since I thought it was a code bug and updated the cookie handling in the post module.

It's working fine for me now, so you must've got it, nice bug splatting, Samson. :)

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