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Thread: The Great Outage

  1. #1
    Ankylosaurus Forum Admin Erin's Avatar
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    The Great Outage

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    Last week, on Saturday, February 20, 2009, the server on which our forum 'lives' suffered a hard drive error. I'll skip the technical details for now, but the result of this failure was the loss of several months' worth of data, information, and posts on this forum.

    To get the forums back up and running, I reinstalled the forum using a 'snapshot' of the forum from May, 2009, meaning that in some senses, our forum has taken a trip back in time.

    But here's the most important part: All posts and registrations after (some date in) May, 2009 are gone. If you registered after that date, you'll need to register again. If you posted after that date, the posts are gone.

    First, I'd like to explain and give answers to some of the most frequently asked questions. Second, I'd like to discuss what I plan to do to prevent this from happening again.
    • What happened? It appears that the hard drive on the server failed.
    • What happened to all of my posts? Unfortunately, they are gone.
    • I can't log in to my account. That's most likely because you created your account after the 'snapshot' date; you will probably need to register again.
    I have a few more things to say, but I'll have to add them later.

    My plans for the coming days and weeks:
    • The first step is to try to restore the forum and its functions; this involves re-adding and re-tweaking a few things.
    • I am already talking to my host about getting the actual hard drive that failed mailed to me. I will then consider taking it to a data recovery company to see whether it's possible to recover any of the data; however, I'm not extremely hopeful.
    • I am already looking into various redundant backup methods, including RAID and off-site tape backup. These methods are not cheap, but it's something I need to do.
    Finally, I want to thank everybody for your support and kindness. I was expecting an uproar, but I found quite the opposite. I have received many messages of support and thanks. Honestly, I should have prevented this from happening, but trust me, I've learned my lesson--be prepared for the worst.

    On a related note, I've been planning to expand the features and offerings of the forum and this site for a long time now, so keep an eye out for more to come.
    ☼ Waiting for Godot

  2. #2
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
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    How much space was the data occupying? (after compressing).
    Maybe you can do some rsync every couple of days, it shouldn't be that expensive.

    Hard drive failure should be thought as a normal occurrence, which everyone should plan for. BTW, this thing happened a few weeks ago at StackOverflow (a very popular forum for programmers). You may be interested in the solutions they considered: Blog Outage – Backup Policies - Blog – Stack Overflow

  3. #3
    Ankylosaurus Forum Admin Erin's Avatar
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    Space is not a huge concern; it's really a matter of getting it all set up and working properly. I ordered an off-site tape backup system with my previous host, but they never got it working for me.

    I'll check out the post you linked to.
    ☼ Waiting for Godot

  4. #4
    An Urch Guru Pundit Swami Sage walt526's Avatar
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    My feeling is that stuff happens. Losing half a year's worth of posts is not the end of world. And even it were, it's not like you're charging anyone for this site (in fact, you must spend a small fortune on monthly hosting). I'm just grateful that you were able to get it back up and running.
    I'm not procrastinating. I just happen to have a very high discount rate.

  5. #5
    Ankylosaurus Forum Admin Erin's Avatar
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    Well, I guess you can see that I just decided to upgrade the forum to the latest version. I ordered the version with all the bells and whistles, including blogs. This will be fun.
    ☼ Waiting for Godot

  6. #6
    Ankylosaurus Forum Admin Erin's Avatar
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    A bit of an update: I received the hard drive yesterday. Funny, from the outside, it looks perfectly good.
    ☼ Waiting for Godot

  7. #7
    Back to TM Luma's Avatar
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    I'm glad that Test Magic is back. It was sad to lose part of our history in TM but as you all said: Things just happen (I now can pretend that I never messed my GRE ... twice ).
    I'm back with my full posting energy

  8. #8
    Ankylosaurus Forum Admin Erin's Avatar
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    Hi, Luma. Wow, so strange to see you with only 93 posts. Your GRE thread was one of my favorites ever. I actually looked at Google to see whether it was cached, and guess what? It is. I was going to ask whether it would be okay to repost it... Yours was a truly inspiring story!

    Nice to have you back.
    ☼ Waiting for Godot

  9. #9
    Back to TM Luma's Avatar
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    Hi Erin,
    Of course I love to have my GRE thread back. Actually I'm very happy that you could find a cached copy- this particular thread has a piece of me, I enjoy reading it from time to time. I shall say the support I received from Test Magic was invaluable.
    I trust that Test Magic will restore its full spirits in no time.

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