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Is it sufficient to rely on backup provided by my provider, or should I arrange for something off site as well?

I'm unsure whether it will be worth the effort?

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Dec 11 '09 at 22:30

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That totally depends on what type of backup is actually provided for you, and how important your data is. We need more details about your particular scenario –  mwigdahl Dec 11 '09 at 22:28
    
Im sorry? I dont understand why you think this is spam? It is the first question Ive ever asked to stackoverflow...is there something wrong with it? –  winstein Dec 11 '09 at 22:29
    
huh. the comment/accusation I was responding to above has gone, sorry. –  winstein Dec 11 '09 at 22:30
    
I'm sure he is referring to Coding Horror... Coding Horror experienced 100% data loss at our hosting provider, CrystalTech. –  dacracot Dec 11 '09 at 22:30

6 Answers 6

What's your data worth? Only you can decide. Backing up to S3 with Jungledisk is cheap, though, as are various options like Mozy and SpiderOak.

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The best backup policy is that you test your backups.

This isn't always easy, but if you're going to bother making the backups, you need to bother testing them.

And by test, I mean you chose a random day of backups and restore that to another totally independent machine. Don't just verify that the backup process ran or that the data exists...


I'll elaborate a little here:

Remember, Nobody cares about backups. People care about restores. You want to verify that your restores work.

Now play the "everything in that room is gone" game.

Look at a clock. Note down the time.

Now, verify that your backups, the ones that aren't in that room, are usable on a computer that isn't in that room, and this includes the tape drive -- is the only one you have to conduct the restores in that room?

Take your backups, that weren't in that room and restore them to your machine that isn't in that room and get all the services back up and running. Is your connection to your users, the ones that make you mone, in that room? If so, how long would it take to get that stuff back up and running too? Or do you have another connection to your users?

Now you've finished your test restore.

Look at the clock.

Are you out of business because it took too long to restore your data?

If so, revisit your backup policy.

Iterate until you're not out of business...

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If the data is irreplaceable, you should make your own backup. If it is replaceable but would take a lot of effort to reproduce, you should strongly consider a backup. If you are paying for the hosting, you can probably rely more on your provider for keeping a backup than if not. If you are part of a mid to large corporation, you probably have the budget for an extra HDD plus deployment of some simple backup software, no?

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That depends entirely on what your data is, what your hosting provider provides, and how much you trust them.

For example, where I work we provide both on-site backups and offsite backups housed by a secure third party for up to a year. For most enterprise-level customers, the combination is sufficient. YMMV. If you have a provider that doesn't provide that (or you aren't willing to pay for it), and you think you need it, then you should probably be making your own backups.

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Ignoring what is most likely sarcasm, given recent events concerning certain blogs...

As others say, it depends on the worth and replaceablity of the data.

But if you data is important enough to be worth bothering with your provider's backup, then it is probably worth a little extra effort to setup a script or two using rsync to send a copy of the data elsewhere, either to your home or another remote location (i.e. a cheap low-RAM VM, or a service like rsync.net or bqbackup, or (if you trust it, which I don't particularly, some implementation of "the cloud").

As you currently are if something nasty happens to your provider and/or your ability to contact them at all you lose both your active data and your backup.

I must admit that my backup personal scheme is long overdue an overhaul - some parts of it require occasional manual intervention to keep working - so my paranoid lecturing on the subject of backups has more than a slight whif of "do what I say, not what I do"... I am responsible for the backups at my place of employment though, and I'm happier their current state.

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It depends on what level of service your provider is currently giving you. Tell us more about that, as well as about your environment, please.

So far as I am concerned, if you have local servers but non-local backups then you don't have backups because you will never be able to do a full server restore in a reasonable amount of time. So tell us if that applies to you.

Speaking of restores, the whole point of backing up is to be able to restore, so you should be asking yourself "how well can I restore from this?" for any item concerning backups.

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