October 29, 2004

Back From The Edge

Wizblog is back up tonight after being down for almost exactly one week . More on the whys and wherefores in a minute, but first, thanks for coming back. Especially if you got an error message the last time you tried the link (since midnight Friday 10/22). Please leave me a comment if you tried and failed within the last week to link to Wizblog. This is toward a goal of determining if anyone on the planet even knew that Wizblog was down for an entire week. And no, J.J., you don't count.

It was undoubtedly a positive thing to have happened, in retrospect. As my son noted tonight, it can now be confirmed that the earth did not spin off its axis because Wizblog was down for a week. So that's a good thing to know for down the line. And besides, I really had election burnout and the World Series was on TV. I didn't disengage from the blogosphere or anything like that, and I saved lots of stuff to post, some of it not even having anything to do with the election.

Our crash was a hard drive failure at Valueweb, the computer storage rental service in Florida that we had hosting Wizblog and a half dozen other blogs. Valueweb was to be relocating equipment from their Miami to their Ft. Lauderdale data centers, and had notified the customers by email that at the appointed hour of 10/22 at midnight, the service would be down until 8 a.m. Saturday, a mere eight hours.

To make a long story longer, that email ended up in the Spam folder of the addressee, the aforementioned son Andy, who is the technical force behind the whole enterprise. He scrambled into action Saturday morning, but when the whole weekend went by with no service, there had to be more to it than a server relocation issue.

Sure enough, they eventually notified Andy that the hard disk had been damaged and was deemed unsalvageable. So we were potentially missing several days worth of posts, which had been put up since the most recent full backup. I was able to retrieve Google-cached versions of about half of them, so only about five days worth of posts were at risk, but regardless of the amount of data lost, Andy had several days work ahead of him, reinstalling operating systems, databases, Movable Type, and all the blog data, remotely, in his spare time. Thanks, Andy. You're the man!

Anyhow, these places will ship you the damaged hard drive if you ask them to, so by Thursday Andy had his hands on the thing. Worst case was that it would be technically impossible or prohibitively expensive to recover the relatively small amount of bloggage that had been lost. On a flyer, Andy just tried hooking it up to his computer first, and the thing fired right up. He was able to recover everything, and had us back up in a flash. Best case.

One lesson learned is that had I even thought to subscribe to my own blog among my Bloglines feeds, none of this scrambling to retrieve cached pages and recovering data files from damaged hard drives would have been necessary. D'oh! I'm still a newbie at this RSS and XML stuff. Baby steps.

Now to go look for the stuff I've been collecting all week...

Posted by dan at October 29, 2004 4:10 PM