On backups and the importance of testing them

I’d really like the last 18 hours of my life back.

Lesson 1) backups are only as good as your backup strategy.

Lesson 2) your backup strategy is useless if its never been tested to recover from bare metal.

Lesson 3) your ill conceived, unproven backup strategy will bite you. And it will not be for a reason that was beyond your control, like say, drive heads screeching on platters. No, it will bite you because of your own stupidity and failure to fully RTFM.  Beware: your ill conceived backup strategy is cunning!  It is most likely to bite you while doing something that might actually result in a more robust backup strategy.

While I’m not entire sure if this was my undoing, I’m unable to grok how doing ‘grub-install‘ on a disk that is not the first BIOS disk does bad things to the disk that *is* the first BIOS disk.  Doesn’t seam to matter that you told it to go work on /dev/sdX, where X != “first BIOS disk”. I’d like to compare notes if your mileage differs on this point.

No matter — something happened that really upset the boot-ability of the system. Of course, anaconda was useless in trying to “rescue” me. No, no! That would have been too simple.

OK, bed time.

3 comments to On backups and the importance of testing them

  • Ouch. Sorry about that.

    (Heh, nice captcha.)

  • Leo Butler


    Yeah, it’s something we all know, we’ve read about endless times, and it won’t happen (by God, it CAN’T happen) to us. And yes, I can empathize with thy pain.

    But hey — at least it wasn’t some gorgeous weekend that you would have preferred to be tearing around some mountain road on your motorpickle. Then it would have really sucked.

  • John

    Hey, Leo, buddy, pal … thanks for the salt! ;)

    After the dust has settled, I think what I really need is to get a cold standby machine available to 1) dump the back-ups to on a regular basis 2) test the back-ups against and 3) if need be, cut over to in the event of a real HW failure.

    Right now, I’d be SOL if my mobo goes tango uniform on me. I’m just really glad I had a pile of old drives laying around to run experiments with trying to image my disabled drive onto.

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