Saturday, January 3, 2009 dies instantly, for lack of a smart CTO

Hearts out to anyone who blogged on The service is dead now, in a heartbeat, because they did not back up their data. Ever, apparently.

Hard to believe a website can remain popular for six years, whilst its IT team merrily whistle through their work day without once stopping to think about data backup.

Maybe I'm myopic, but I've seen this happen with companies started by business and marketing people without a technical stakeholder, albeit no implosion has been so instantaneous. Not everyone can be technically minded, but if you aren't, and you are starting a dot com, better hire someone who is, give them a stake in the company, and listen to them about things like contingency planning.

So, what would you do if your data was lost? This question applies to home users and business people alike. As a CTO, this question should keep you up at night, in many different manifestations:

- What if a HD in the database server goes?
- What if the whole database server blows up?
- What if your web server blows up?
- What if your data center goes off line?
- What if the CEO looses his laptop?
- What if someone hacks into the development environment?

There are hundreds of variations on this theme. Good sleep is for the naive, and the retired, and those that have worked very hard for high availability, disaster recovery, and security.

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