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A Reminder to Backup...

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
51,594
13,227
According to this ars thread, it appears MacUpdate has suffered a hard drive failure.

MacUpdate's hard drive took a dive this morning and will no longer boot. This has caused unexpected down time for the MacUpdate site.

We are going to attempt to make the drive a secondary drive in the machine and copy the data over. If this doesn't work, we are in a very bad position, as the MacUpdate site and database are not backed up outside of this drive.

Keep us in your prayers if you would please.,

MacUpdate.com currently resolves to an Ensim server admin page.
 

arn

macrumors god
Staff member
Apr 9, 2001
15,650
4,463
Not good news...

It looks like they are hosting with Rackshack.net - which has a notorious reputation for being cheap - but providing very little support.

During the server growth a few months back, I tried out a RackShack.net server and temporarily moved the forums over to it... but due to bad support and unexplainable failures, I canceled the service.

arn
 
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arn

macrumors god
Staff member
Apr 9, 2001
15,650
4,463
Originally posted by Future Man
Aren't they almost as big as versiontracker? Or am I totally off?

they weren't quite as big as Versiontracker. I think versiontracker is one of the largest Mac-related sites out there.

arn
 
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medea

macrumors 68030
Aug 4, 2002
2,517
1
Madison, Wi
uh gee a site like that which doesnt practice proper backing up of info, thats sad, hopefully they will pull it back together though and will learn a lesson from this. I hope something like this doesnt happen to macrumors, but Im sure arn wouldnt let that happen.;)
 
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arn

macrumors god
Staff member
Apr 9, 2001
15,650
4,463
Originally posted by medea
I hope something like this doesnt happen to macrumors, but Im sure arn wouldnt let that happen.;)

we've got nightly backups to a second drive. So, unless both drives fail simultaneously.... but I guess I should have a routine off-site backup plan. I'll setup something.

arn
 
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arn

macrumors god
Staff member
Apr 9, 2001
15,650
4,463
Originally posted by idkew


just curious arn- about how large is the database for MR now?

About 420MB.

arn
 
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guifa

macrumors 6502
Sep 19, 2002
260
0
Auburn, AL
According to index.html on MacUpdate right now, they were able to retrieve the data for the site and are currently copying it over to a new server.

I dunno about others, but I like the layout of MacRumors better than VersionTracker, it just seems cleaner. Maybe it's the color scheme.
 
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dricci

macrumors 6502a
Dec 15, 2001
537
0
I hope they get everything up and running again. I prefer MacUpdate over Version Tracker, much more friendly than VT. Also, I use them for my site's Software Updates Syndication.
 
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Choppaface

macrumors 65816
Jan 22, 2002
1,187
0
SFBA
does anybody know if myacen is a good host? I think they do backups for you too...

Originally posted by arn


About 420MB.

arn

O_O_O_O_O_O_O_O

and yet searches and things go pretty fast...wow
 
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brossow

macrumors newbie
Dec 7, 2002
27
0
Jeebuz H.

Holy crap. That's just unbelievably stupid. $100 for a second drive + $50 for Retrospect = virtually no down time. Or skip Retrospect and use Carbon Copy Cloner in the wee hours of the morning every day to have virtually no down time. Or get a real server setup using RAID. In 2002, there's no excuse for more than a few minutes of downtime in any situation.
 
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Les Kern

macrumors 68040
Apr 26, 2002
3,063
76
Alabama
Re: Jeebuz H.

Originally posted by brossow
... there's no excuse for more than a few minutes of downtime in any situation.

But it happens. I feel for them. I have been doing this for almost 20 years, and in my surrent job I DO say to the users BACKUP,BACKUP,BACKUP AGAIN!. Some genius I am: Last year I lost 3 GB of files because the whole setup failed when I was transfering them to two external drives before I backed up to the server. For some reason my mac died and took two drives with it! $1,700.00 to DriveSavers later I had MOST of my files, and thankfull all of another user's. The lesson: Now I backup to 4 locations on FW drives and servers on alternating days AND to a FW portable daily for off-site. As a matter of fact this protocol is in place for most of the 23 servers. But know what? It can happen again. So pat them on the back and offer condolenses.
 
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Mr. Anderson

Moderator emeritus
Nov 1, 2001
22,558
0
VA
Originally posted by arn


About 420MB.

arn

ha, that's it - all that spamming, too, who would have thought? Do you have a breakdown on the types of info? How much is imagery? Its amazing to think you can fit all of MacRumors on one CD :D

D
 
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Choppaface

macrumors 65816
Jan 22, 2002
1,187
0
SFBA
Originally posted by dukestreet
Do you have a breakdown on the types of info? How much is imagery?

I think he was only talking about the mysql database, which is all text, but i dunno
 
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rhett121

macrumors newbie
Jan 23, 2002
6
0
Dallas Texas
Brossow?

So where did you find that 450GB harddrive for $100? And retrospect for $50, I don't guess you meant the professional version huh?

Maybe they were using IBM harddrives, I had 4 IBM "Deathstars" die on me unwarned, so my backup drive failed too. It happened in 2 sets of 2 so you can pretty much guarantee I will never buy another IBM drive. The 3 year warranty is not of any use when you still have to buy new drives to hold you over for the 3-5 weeks it takes to replace them.

I wish them the very best in recovery.
 
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brossow

macrumors newbie
Dec 7, 2002
27
0
Re: Brossow?

Originally posted by rhett121
So where did you find that 450GB harddrive for $100? And retrospect for $50, I don't guess you meant the professional version huh?

Maybe they were using IBM harddrives, I had 4 IBM "Deathstars" die on me unwarned, so my backup drive failed too. It happened in 2 sets of 2 so you can pretty much guarantee I will never buy another IBM drive. The 3 year warranty is not of any use when you still have to buy new drives to hold you over for the 3-5 weeks it takes to replace them.

I wish them the very best in recovery.

1. Why a 450GB drive? There's no WAY that MacUpdate was storing 450 gigs of data on their web server. Maybe you were mistakenly referring to the reported 450 MEGAbyte size of the MacRumors database mentioned elsewhere in this thread.

2. No, I wasn't talking about Retrospect Workgroup or Server. You don't need those for backing up a single drive; that would be extreme overkill. At $50, Retrospect Express would be adequate for the one drive and would have allowed an almost immediate return to functionality. Only way you'd need Workgroup is if the server was actually running OS X Server; lesser versions of Retrospect won't back up ASIP or OS X Server.

Whatever the case, this could easily have been averted for under $500. What's the downtime worth? Ultimately it's not my problem, but don't expect me to feel sympathetic. Sheesh.
 
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arn

macrumors god
Staff member
Apr 9, 2001
15,650
4,463
Re: Re: Brossow?

Originally posted by brossow

Whatever the case, this could easily have been averted for under $500. What's the downtime worth? Ultimately it's not my problem, but don't expect me to feel sympathetic. Sheesh.

It's actually not quite that easy...

Web server hosting tends to be more costly... and you can't just translate "one time" costs of a home machine over to a server.

You can co-locate a server... in that you can purchase a full machine and have it hosted at a location, but then you have to maintain it yourself, and the burden of software maintainence and hardware failures is on you. Plus, you're still paying hundreds of dollars a month on colocation/bandwidth.

Leasing a dedicated server is more managable... but hosting costs for dedicated servers start at $99 -- but once you start adding bandwidth and backup capacity, it quickly elevates. MacRumors hosting was close to $600-700/month at one point -- and that was without a backup solution at all.

Plus - many of these sites -- like MacUpdate are started as individually run sites rather than company funded sites. As bandwidth and traffic increases, costs tend to be coming out of pocket for many webmasters. MacMusic.org, for example, is planning on closing due to too much popularity... they can't cover their hosting costs. Adding another $100/month or so for a good backup system on top of losing money is not something that some people can do.

In the end - yes, "real" businesses should spend what it takes... but with websites, many can be individually funded sites which make additional expenses more problematic.

arn
 
Comment

cubist

macrumors 68020
Jul 4, 2002
2,075
0
Muncie, Indiana
The three laws of network computing...

1. Backups.
2. Backups.
3. Backups.
The way I interpret this is:
First, have a "live" backup in the form of a RAID or mirror drive (because hard drives inevitably fail; it is only a question of when).
Second, have a backup on a rotating tape or CD-RW media set which is produced and maintained on-site.
Third, have an off-site tape or CD-R (or WORM) backup set which is produced weekly and maintained off-site.
A site of such national strategic significance as MacRumors :cool: ought to have a "warm" off-site backup server ready to go, possibly at reduced bandwidth, should a total site outage occur.

In telephony, we believe in multiple levels of protection. At one company, we had two sites with enormous UPS systems consisting of a roomful of lead-acid batteries, plus diesel generators. The generators were tested every month. Suddenly a massive windstorm destroyed the electical supply to one of the two sites. The generator came on - and failed immediately. Backup tapes were produced as the systems ran on battery, the tapes were taken to the other site, and then the switches were moved to the backup commlinks to the other site. Double faults occur. Even triple faults can occur.
 
Comment

brossow

macrumors newbie
Dec 7, 2002
27
0
Re: Brossow?

Originally posted by arn


It's actually not quite that easy...

Web server hosting tends to be more costly... and you can't just translate "one time" costs of a home machine over to a server.

You can co-locate a server... in that you can purchase a full machine and have it hosted at a location, but then you have to maintain it yourself, and the burden of software maintainence and hardware failures is on you. Plus, you're still paying hundreds of dollars a month on colocation/bandwidth.

Leasing a dedicated server is more managable... but hosting costs for dedicated servers start at $99 -- but once you start adding bandwidth and backup capacity, it quickly elevates. MacRumors hosting was close to $600-700/month at one point -- and that was without a backup solution at all.

Plus - many of these sites -- like MacUpdate are started as individually run sites rather than company funded sites. As bandwidth and traffic increases, costs tend to be coming out of pocket for many webmasters. MacMusic.org, for example, is planning on closing due to too much popularity... they can't cover their hosting costs. Adding another $100/month or so for a good backup system on top of losing money is not something that some people can do.

In the end - yes, "real" businesses should spend what it takes... but with websites, many can be individually funded sites which make additional expenses more problematic.

arn

No need to tell me about the costs involved with managing servers; it's part of what I do for a living. (I manage several servers -- more than six but fewer than a dozen -- in multiple locations. My budgets for the various locations are SEVERELY limited, yet in not one case would we lose more than a few hours' data and we'd have the affected server back up in minutes. Backup and recovery are simply part of the cost of having a server; it's not an option.) What I also know quite well is the cost of not properly backing up servers. Regardless of the cost of a proper backup system, what is the cost of rebuilding an entire site from scratch? From the limited information I've seen about this specific failure, an additional drive with some sort of mirroring would have saved hours of downtime and presumably considerable human time and effort, not to mention the bad image it projects when a simple drive failure takes down your service for an inordinate amount of time -- a bad image not just to your users but also to your advertisers. I don't know what their hosting situation is, but despite everything you've said, I don't think the downtime was necessary:

1. CoLo -- follow one of my previous suggestions and you're back up and running within five minutes of getting to the CoLo.

2. Leasing -- who would consider leasing without a backup solution in place? If you can't guarantee the security of all your time and labor, why bother?

Either way, if the business model doesn't include a provision for data backup and disaster recovery, there's a fundamental flaw in the plan. To me, this is the same thing as typing up your doctoral dissertation without ever saving the document, just leaving the computer running 24/7 until you're done and hoping that the power doesn't go out and that the computer doesn't crash before you can print it out. Sure, it might work for awhile but odds are eventually you're going to be sorry.

I won't belabor this further. I've said all I can say. It doesn't matter. For their sake, I hope the folks at MacUpdate learn something from this and come up with a better system.
 
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pantagruel

macrumors regular
Oct 29, 2002
190
0
here and there
ok I may still be pretty new here, but arn is kind of the top dog of macrumors and as a newbie man you probably shouldnt argue with him, not that your shouldnt be entitled to your own opinion because that is definitely not the case (i myself am a victim of this right now on a different thread) but maybe you should just word your replies more carefully, ive seen so far that arn is pretty smart and when he replies to a thread he knows what he is talking about.
 
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