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A fusion of development and business

Backups matter.

It’s 4 am and your servers are down. Your infrastructure provider is having a major outage with no estimated restore time, and your entire application is offline. You’re scrambling, because in two hours your customers come online and will flood support with complaints and questions. The decision is made – let’s stand up a backup infrastructure. And then you ask yourself the question:

Do you know where your backups even are?

If your backups are on the infrastructure provider that’s out of commission, you’re in deep, deep trouble. Yet for many people, that’s exactly where we put our backups.

I make it a point of running a disaster drill at least once a quarter on my database backups, to ensure that I know where they are, they are current, and restoring them is a process I have tested regularly. And my backups go somewhere OTHER than the availability zone and region of my main services – this ensures that I can come back online quickly in the event of a prolonged outage.

Backups aren’t a hot topic. They aren’t something people think about, or care about until often it’s too late. But they’re important. You need to have backups, away from your typical infrastructure provider, in a safe, off-site location that they can be pulled from. And you want to make sure whomever is hosting your backups is not using the infrastructure of your provider – lest your “offsite” backup be right next door to your infrastructure!

There are plenty of S3-compatible systems, and Amazon is not essentially required. Digital Ocean provides one, as do other companies. Consider having backups in those locations, and be ready for a disaster.

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