Backing-up Your Web Site

Web sites are fragile, they can break easily, do to various causes, ranging from electrical failures on the part of the web servers, to programming errors that slipped testing. Whichever the case might be, the fact remains: if your web site breaks, you're in trouble.

If it's just a personal web site, or a small home web site, it might not be such a big deal, but what if it's a company web site, bank web site, even a small business web site. In this case, sensitive and important data can be lost, causing massive damage. You can lose clients addresses, transactions history, client data, etc, basically screw up your entire business. Repairing the damage might cause you to go bankrupt.

This is why it's VITAL to always have an up-to-date backup of important data found on your web site. One of the most important jobs of a system administrator is to back up all the systems that they administrate. Systems need to be fully restored to their previous states in case of a breakdown, and be able to function correctly.

Without a backup plan in place, data is not safe. All it takes is just a little problem, and your data may become corrupted or lost. If this happens (and it's bound to happen sooner or later), data from the most recent backup needs to be restored, and the whole systems need to revert back to its previously working state, and continue working normally.

Manually reconstructing lost data is a nightmare, partially for people doing the actual work, but especially for the system owners, who have to support all the complications that come with losing important data.

A good backup strategy has four key components: the backup component which decides which method to use and what data to save, the storage component which decides on what storage support you save the data, and where do you keep the data once saved (if you save everything on DVDs, and there is a robbery and all of the DVDs are stolen, it means that the storage component failed, since it doesn't matter whether you saved the data or not, as long as once it is saved, you don't take care of it), the verification component lets you know if the data you have saved is usable or not, and finally the restoration component, which restores saved data back to a state in which you can use it. All of these components are very important, and they combine and work together to create a good backup.

Basically, when backing up a system, you need to take into consideration two scenarios: something terrible happens and you lose data, and you must restore it as soon as possible (Disaster Recovery), or you simply want to consult older data, for example, a database record from 5 years ago (Archival).

Disaster Recovery backs up data constantly, and ensures you always have a stable system state to with you can revert if something goes wrong. Usually key parts of the system or the entire system is backed up, and restored onto another machine, so that you can continue work.

Archival retrieves historical data based upon backup preferences (you may choose to keep all backups or just backups from a specific time frame), so when you search for a recording that is not in the current system state anymore, you can find it in the Archive Backups.

Both types of backups are useful, and it's recommended that you combine them to have increased security.