No database + no backup = no business: ex-employee blamed

Welcome to a special IT Blogwatch EXTRA: as Richi Jennings watches bloggers wag a cautionary tale of backups, RAID1, and alleged sabotage by a disgruntled employee. Not to mention how the Aussies advertise newspapers...

Erik Nelson writes a eulogy for Journalspace:

Hard drive (credit: Getty Images)
JournalSpace, which has been around for almost six years now as a prominent blogger website, is done. Due to a catastrophic data loss, either due to software error or malicious intent, the website managers have lost the entire contents of the blogs stored upon it.
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With nearly 14,000 viewers per month, JournalSpace was a relatively high-traffic website. The data loss is impossible to correct and JournalSpace is effectively destroyed.

On a technical side, what occurred is still unclear ... JournalSpace had taken no other effort to back up their data other than constantly mirroring the drives. The damage that occurred then was not physical, but rather based in software.
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Andy Merrett chimes in:

It may not have been the largest free blogging platform available, but for anyone who used JournalSpace for their blog the events of the last week were catastrophically significant.

Three days ago, JournalSpace lost all of its data. Yes, all of it ... six years worth of blogs wiped out in one fell swoop.

While every web and blog host (free or paid) will tell you that they have backup systems in place, rarely are they bulletproof. Deliberate attack, human error, hardware and software failures, and ISPs going out of business can all cause data to become corrupted and web sites to go offline – sometimes permanently.
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Rich Miller drives the point home: [You're fired -Ed.]

Rather than backing up its data at another location, Journalspace mirrored the data on a separate drive on the same server. When the data on both drives went missing, the service apparently had no backups it could use to restore the data.
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Obviously, a cautionary tale about back and recovery practices.
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The anonymous gnomes at Journalspace look sheepish:

A disgruntled [employee] sabotaged some key servers several months ago after he was caught stealing from the company ... [He] was the guy handling the IT ... [and he] made the choice to rely on RAID as the only backup mechanism for the SQL server.
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The ironic thing here is that one of his hobbies was telling everybody how smart he was.

This doesn't excuse what happened, though: I should have taken a better look at what he'd left behind.
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Mike Linett can't wait to say:

Imagine if your company, which survived the downturn in the market in 2008, was shut down because no one backed up the data which was the bread and butter of your company. It looks like a company has experienced this nightmare and is now going out of business.
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Every company has to judge what the value of a backup is, and what strategy they are going to use to maintain their backup. How much insurance is too much? What is your D/R plan?
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Nerino Petro walks in the Forrest:

There's a line from the movie Forrest Gump "Stupid is as Stupid Does" I think that it is appropriate in this instance ... if we judge JournalSpace by what they did, they were stupid. It's one thing if you lose your own data, but it's something else entirely when you lose other peoples data that they have entrusted to you.
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As we start a new year, let their loss serve to reinforce your resolve to insure that you have regular and tested backups.
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John Scott Russell makes a mental note:

Never hire anyone technical who has "Journalspace.com" in their resume, even if they just worked there making coffee and/or cleaning the floors.
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conureman proposes a minute's stunned silence:

I am experiencing a strange phenomenon. The jaw-drop reflex has been popping my mouth open for several minutes and won't stop. If I focus I can close it, but then it pops open again. wow.
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And finally...

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Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/adviser/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and spam. A 23 year, cross-functional IT veteran, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. You can follow him on Twitter, pretend to be Richi's friend on Facebook, or just use boring old email: blogwatch@richi.co.uk.

Previously in IT Blogwatch:

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