[Encore] Backups Backups Backups

Kevin Jepson kevijeps at telusplanet.net
Sat May 5 11:50:19 MDT 2007

Hi Folks
Well, I just had a great illustration of why backups are important.
My stepdaughter moved back to stay with us for a while and that meant a
re-arrangement of my computer room to accommodate a bed, desk, dresser
No problem says I, we'll just shut everything down and move the server and
clear up the cable pile etc.
I shut down the server (running Linux) move everything and then turn it back
on and POOF dead hard drive!
This system had been running without a hitch for 450 days.
Now I know you are asking "So what? He had backups right?" 
Alas, I sort of did :-/
I backed up my MOO files regularly but not the rest of the server (some 60GB
of miscellaneous stuff).  Why no backups then?  The reason is simply that
this server WAS THE BACKUP for the other machines on my network. The only
stuff that was on this server that wasn't actually on another HD in the
network was my MOO.
It is important to have a working backup of anything you don't want to
loose, With today's inexpensive HDs it is cheap and easy to use them for
backups but keep in mind they can fail even if they are only being used that
way. Multiple copies of critical files is the only way to go IMHO. 
Also very important is making sure your backups work, Try restoring from
them occasionally.  Discovering that the backup files are corrupted when you
are trying to do a restore after a failure can really ruin your day :-(
MOO backups are a tad more complicated because an active MOO is akin to a
transactional system.  During active building there can be a lot of DB
changes in a short period of time.  With the default checkpoint interval of
1 hour we have a pretty good snapshot of the system but each checkpoint
overwrites the last one so you might want to consider scheduling more
frequent copies of the dump files during the periods of high
building/development activity.  I  did that manually for my MOO because I
was the one doing the development but a scheduled job might be more
appropriate on a big system.
MOO Programmers should also get into the habit of making @dumps of their
code and objects as they go along as well.  That way even if the MOO had to
be restored from a previous day, or week or longer backup you could still
recreate your work fairly quickly.

Kevin Jepson R.E.T.
4K Consulting Inc.                    
An't nanum hearm deth, doth hwaet ye willath.

PHONE: (403) 875-8372
Email: kevijeps at telusplanet.net

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