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I am helping run a Model United Nations conference for high school students. The conference is completely organized and staffed by university students. I am writing an application that will keep track of UN Resolutions passed by the students, print them out, and so on. The database backend doesn't need to be high-performance (no more than a few queries a minute will be processed), but if it were to fail during the weekend-long conference, it'd be a serious catastrophe. What can I set up in order to decrease the likelihood of this happening? I am open to using any database system as long as it fits within our generous technology budget of $0.00 and a few donated laptops.

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+1 for being involved in the Model United Nations. – Mike Chess Jan 19 '11 at 6:32
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Sign up for a 30 day SQL Azure trial account:

...or better yet, contact Microsoft and ask them if they want to sponsor your event with a SQL Azure instance for free.

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I would rather not rely on a free trial, since we will hopefully be using this software again next year. But I'm accepting your answer because you got me thinking about using cloud-based databases, and I found reputable sites offering free accounts for small-time use. – Brennan Vincent Jan 19 '11 at 7:07
Thanks. :) Another cloud provider in the works (linux based cloud, so you can have e.g. MySql hosted there) is Serverloft. They currently have a beta program where you get a decent chunk of initial usage for free: – KristoferA Jan 19 '11 at 7:20

I wrote something like this for the Yale University Model United Nations conference. . I used django which is an application framework that in turn uses MySQL as its database. You can start with a virtual private server running ubuntu linux.

You don't really need mirroring, because your database will only store links to the files. So if the database crashes you'll still have access to the files.

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Use SQLite and copy the database for a time line of backups automated by cron. Back them up on a different laptop or on some remote location to get survivability beyond a laptop being dropped.

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