Compare and contrast backup strategies

On the one hand, you have Jeff Atwood’s Coding Horror, a blog about programming read by thousands if not hundreds of thousands of people. And by the same guy, His backup strategy was to make copies of both blogs but leave them on his hosting site, and trust that when the ISP said they had it backed up, they really had it backed up. Of course, the ISP had some sort of hardware failure, and when they went to restore their backups, they found that they didn’t work. He’s now trying to reconstruct his articles (but of course not the comments, and some very few of the images that went along with them) from Google’s cache, the Wayback Machine, and the web caches of his readers.

On the other hand, you have this blog, which is about nothing in particular and read by probably 15 people tops. My backup strategy is this:

  1. Daily database dumps, copied to another file system on a different physical volume on the same box. That’s there mostly to quickly respond if I accidentally delete the database or an upgrade goes bad or something. If my blog got more traffic and more comments, I’d do those dumps more frequently.
  2. Another backup and a tar file just before I do an upgrade.
  3. Daily rsyncs back to my Linux server at home. I keep a week’s worth of those.
  4. Daily copies of that local copy to removable hard drives. I keep a month’s worth of those.
  5. Every week or so, I move one of those removable hard drives to a physically remote location.

And I did this when my blog was hosted on a VPS that the ISP claimed had some sort of backups and now when my blog is hosted on a 1u box that I bought on eBay and stuck in a local colo facility. As far as I’m concerned, you’re not backed up until the backup in your pocket.

Oh yeah, did I mention that some of those Coding Horror blog entries that went missing were about backups and how important they are?

I’m sorry, but the idiocy of this just leaves me shaking my head in wonder about why anybody ever believed anything he ever said about computers. On the other hand, it also makes me glad that I don’t have a huge audience hanging on my every word, because someday I might get something wrong (hey, I know, not likely, right?), and schadenfreude’s a bitch.