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Backup !

Discussion in 'Computing and ICT' started by kindling_not_vessels, Feb 16, 2011.

  1. I'm forever telling my pupils about the dangers of failing to save regularly or take back ups. Seems like I should have informed by hosting provider as well (and myself).
    I use a well respected company (name sounds like a form of Buddism) with a commercial obligation in writing that states they take daily, weekly and six monthly backups and store remotely on tapes etc but still my entire webspace data has been lost. I've got all the raw files on scattered about various hard drives. However the data was used by our VLE (hosted by Google) which has around 630 pages, built up over the last four years and a good proportion of the pages have links to the lost data files. There's also an interactive database application that took ages to configure and contains two years worth of online homeworks the kids should use for revision. It will takes weeks of work to reinstate what can be retrieved.
    It's set me thinking about backing up Google Apps. At the moment I pass the buck and tell users to take their own local backups - does any one have first hand experience of a reliable system for taking local backups of an entire domain (Docs, Gmail and Sites).
    The Apps market place has a few options but when scaled up to cover all users the cost is in the thousands per annum. One solution is free, but the reviews say it fails entirely if any filename contains a space !
    Our admin system for pop3 email has over a hundred accounts with a different host (also a well known and commercially obligated provider). I tried enquiring about backing up the DNS and email settings and was staggered to find this is not and "cannot" be done. I dread to think the chaos that would be caused if those settings were lost. I've now taken screenshots of all the setting I can think of.
    To find that well known commercial web hosts can have such inadequate systems and procedures is a real wake up call to me.
    Please learn from anothers mistake and make sure you have your own local backup of anything you hold dear, and don't rely on other peoples assurances.
  2. becktonboy

    becktonboy New commenter

    so sorry to hear of your troubles, just wanted to add that remote storage/backup sounds fine but you have to remember that to a stranger your data is just that, a lump of data unassociated with the time, effort or energy used to create and organise it. This was brought home to me forcefully when a partner company deleted an entire year group's work for the past 2 years, despite my having tried several times to get a copy of it - the people I was talking to were not the ones with the delete button on their screen.
  3. Thats awful - commiserations. Shocking that a commercial company can be ****.

    I feel like i spend a completely disprportionate amount of time backing stuff up in multiple ways and your experience makes me feel better about the time I take doing this.

    Hope it doesnt take too long to put right.
  4. DEmsley

    DEmsley New commenter

    I'd echo JB's comments. I too spend ages backing up but I don't think I could easily recover if I lost loads as the backups could be on any of several devices. I need to rationalise.
    I don't want to threadjack this but does anyone have any suggestions?
  5. oldgit

    oldgit New commenter

    A lot depends on how much you can afford to budget for this. As a sideline I develop and manage a number of websites - including a VLE (Moodle) which gets a reasonable amount of use. I've also had a few other sites but, due to lack of time and inclination at the moment, nothing with major amounts of traffic.
    For this I use what's known as a Dedicated Server which costs me around £1000 per year. For around another £80, I rent a backup server which is physically located away from the main one and will store, I think, 200GB of data. So, in theory, the setup should be just about bomb-proof.
    The main server is configured to do daily, weekly and monthly backups which allow you to go back in time if an error creeps in. It is fairly simple from this setup to download by FTP one of these backups and archive on CD, DVD etc.
    Mostly it works. How do I know? Well, every day, it sends the backup log to me via email so, if things are so critical, I can monitor this. However, I have had the odd occasion when I have not had the email notification and my main hosting company check and fix.
    On the occasion, once in around seven years, that I needed to do a restoration it restored everything - websites, mail, ftp accounts etc. Note, however, that - unless you've done it yourself (in which case you won't be reading this) DNS should be setup on quite different servers.
    You do need to have a serious problem in social situations to spend so much time doing this. I spend most of my working life in a country where beer is not available which explains my lack of other entertainment.

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