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hdd backup missing *the* most critical part?

I'm not sure if Joel just misses to write about it, but he misses the part for which we and most of our customers needed backups most:

We had a 'system problem' once where we really needed our backup, and that was the one time our office burned down. We'd been lucky that time since we had backups off-site, but in Joel's explanation it does read like he always has the backups in the server.
Ok, recover companies are able to rescue your data, but how long will it take and how expensive will it be.

And the other 'critical failure' that luckily never happened to us but to quite a few customers is theft - their offices had been broken into and the thief stole not only the comp but also took the backup media that was still attached to the comp.

These are the two main scenarios I plan my backup for, and it seems Joel's backup does miss them both.

Otherwise, I also use harddisks for backup, but I cycle through a few of them so even when one  gets bad/lost I'll have others, just like tapes. Funny thing is we get harddisks cheaper then tapes, and we dont even need an expensive streamer but only some simple external drive bay.

But I am a bit paranoid anyway since I also make backups of our sources on MO to store offshore :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

I second that, offsite backups always was a must in a recovery plan.

OTOH, a couple well chosen members of the company having a copy of the data at home would be enough in most cases.

Renaud Martinon
Tuesday, January 20, 2004

You could rotate through a few external hard disks, and always keep one off-site.

Brad Wilson (
Tuesday, January 20, 2004

In Joel's article ("SysAdmin Week") he does state:

"Servers are backed up over the Internet [...] also to a hard drive at a different location."

I read this as making an offsite backup. He states that all the workstations are backed up to the server and then the server is backed up to a remote location.

Philip Dickerson
Tuesday, January 20, 2004

I'm still wondering about *offline* backups.

If you have all your backups online all the time, how certain are you that a destructive virus won't trash them all?


Tuesday, January 20, 2004

> If you have all your backups online all the time, how certain are you that a destructive virus won't trash them all?

One way to have "offline online" backups is to have the backup computer control its network connection. You could have a pair of such computers, both powered on, but with only one connected to the network at any given time.

Having one of the backups powered off is more reliable; this strategy is easier to automate.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

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