The importance of backups

A fried hard-drive, out-of-sync production environment and version control, and no backups. A recipe for lots of avoidable work…

I’m quite good at procrastination. I’d been meaning to clean up the conflicts between my development environment, production environment, and version control at work as well as create a system to backup all of my important data regularly. The operative words are had been meaning to. Last week my primary computer’s (the one that has all of my current work) hard-drive started making a knocking sound on my way back from work. At home the quick diagnosis was: nothing to be done – HD fried and all data lost. Even using dd to try a block based dump of parts of the filesystem failed.

So now I’ve been trying to patch things together from published sources – annoyed at myself for not making backups earlier. While most of my current projects weren’t harmed all that bad (a week or so of lost work), my archives of past projects and work was all completely lost. I thought I still had them on my secondary computer, but I remembered wrong. (Now who was the idiot who deleted them? Look between the keyboard and chair at the one writing this…)

Well, at least I managed to clean up my HD. And I really don’t think that I lost anything that important that I’d still need in binary format. All of my scientific papers (, theses) and teaching materials exist on paper if I need them in the future. At least HP’s service worked fast. I called them on a Thursday and on Monday morning when I went to work a new HD was waiting for me on my desk.

And I finally managed to synch the production environment and the version control data for the software I’m working on at work. And switch over to Subversion. Now on to recreate some of the graphics I’ve created…

I guess I don’t need to point out what everyone should learn from my experience ;)

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