I had a bit of a scare last night with my computer last night.
I have spent the past several days doing some work for a client and am travelling out to their office today to deploy the work on their servers. The plan was to download the release from Subversion onto a workstation and upload to their server (and updates configs and all that).
Last night at 9pm, my main pc wouldnât start. I could hear the fan humming and disks spinning, but nothing showing up on the monitorânot even bios set-up screens. Itâs a four-year-old Dell Dimension 9150, so the pc isnât new and I expect there to be problems from time-to-time, but this kind of problem couldnât happen at all those times I donât have any clients?
My main development PC gets backed up once a week to an external hard drive using Acronis True Image. My PC also wakes from hibernate every morning at 2am and takes a local backup from all my websites and databases hosted on different web servers. I have a Subversion repository hosted off-site where I keep all my code. Iâve thought a lot about disaster recovery. But it wasnât enough.
I wasnât concerned about the PC as much as I was concerned about the code. But, as much as I tell my developers to check-in every day, I was a bit lazy here and didnât do it myself for two days.
After Googling the problem for a while (on my laptop) I found the issue was some RAM had gone bad. I took memory out one by one until the computer would start again. I breathed a sigh of relief. Eventually removed two RAM modules (bringing my pc from 4gb down to 2gb)âand the first thing I did was check my code into Subversion. So after a few hours of panic, everything was fine.
Hereâs the problem with my backup strategyâitâs not regular enough. Itâs geared for a hard-drive failure more than anything else. If my pc completely packs it in, I can restore my operating system, hard drives and everything else onto a new boxâbut my backup only runs once a week. I could be 6 days out of date. I need to increase it. Besides, I live in Oxfordshire. Itâs not like Iâm in San Diego where you can swing down to Fries at 9pm on a Sunday night and pick up a hard drive.
If youâve ever had a hard drive fail, you know how important back-ups areâbut they got to be automated or they wonât happen. When you get paid for the work you do on your computer, itâs even more important.