It’s so empty here

The server that runs this website is on a RAID array that was recently replaced. I thought I had a backup of this website, but it turns out I did not. When the RAID array was replaced all of the content that was previously on this website went with it. There is no worse feeling then booting the server only to discover all your data is gone forever.

These kind of events are hopefully rare in your professional life but when they happen they remind you of a few simple but powerful lessons about Information Technology:

  1. Always have a backup.
  2. Always have a backup of the backup. Redundancy across multiple digital systems may seem like overkill but it’s not.
  3. Document everything. I’m primarily a Windows Server admin who dabbles a bit with Linux so knowing what command I used to do something isn’t something that just pops into my head. It took about six months of tinkering before I had the previous version of this website humming the way I wanted it to. How much of that did I document? Zero. This time, I have every single command I used documented.
  4. Keep the document updated and useful. The original documentation I created for how I configured this site basically read:
    “Install LAMP, read Blog A,B,C, read documentation step 4 from website Y.”
    Blog B and C don’t exist anymore and the documentation from website Y was updated to a version I’m not running. Not helpful when it’s 1AM and you’re desperately trying to find a backup copy of a document that took you 3 weeks to write that no longer exists.

Did I miss any? Comment below.

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