Tag Archives: Data

IT Stuff: How not to deal with valuable data

Friday:

Some Facebook groups that you may find helpful:

Friday:

From Andrew’s Blog: How to recover most or all of your journalspace posts/images using Google cache

Friday:

Hi there, Slashdotters. My blog has some more information which you may find interesting.

Tuesday:

Journalspace is no more.

DriveSavers called today to inform me that the data was unrecoverable.

Here is what happened: the server which held the journalspace data had two large drives in a RAID configuration. As data is written (such as saving an item to the database), it’s automatically copied to both drives, as a backup mechanism.

The value of such a setup is that if one drive fails, the server keeps running, using the remaining drive. Since the remaining drive has a copy of the data on the other drive, the data is intact. The administrator simply replaces the drive that’s gone bad, and the server is back to operating with two redundant drives.

But that’s not what happened here. There was no hardware failure. Both drives are operating fine; DriveSavers had no problem in making images of the drives. The data was simply gone. Overwritten.

The data server had only one purpose: maintaining the journalspace database. There were no other web sites or processes running on the server, and it would be impossible for a software bug in journalspace to overwrite the drives, sector by sector.

The list of potential causes for this disaster is a short one. It includes a catastrophic failure by the operating system (OS X Server, in case you’re interested), or a deliberate effort. A disgruntled member of the Lagomorphics team sabotaged some key servers several months ago after he was caught stealing from the company; as awful as the thought is, we can’t rule out the possibility of additional sabotage.

But, clearly, we failed to take the steps to prevent this from happening. And for that we are very sorry.

So, after nearly six years, journalspace is no more.

If you haven’t yet, visit Dorrie’s Fun Forum; it’s operated by a long-time journalspace member. If you’re continuing your blog elsewhere, you can post the URL there so people can keep up with you.

We’re considering releasing the journalspace source code to the open source community. We may also sell the journalspace domain and trademarks. Follow us on twitter at twitter.com/jsupgrades for news.

As a somewhat newly-minted overnight admin for a firm that deals almost exclusivley in important information, this story is a reminder about how important it is to keep up to date backups (something that I don’t do on my personal machines as much as I should)

I don’t imagine for a second that my customers would be happy to find out that I was not keeping a non-volatile backup of my important data like these people were,  but I don’t know if their customers were even paying for the service, so this may be a non-issue in terms of cash.  I didn’t look any deeper to find out.

As for my personal sites,  I keep backups off site and on other mediums, but not as often as one might want or expect.  In Fact, I’m doing one now just in case.