Did you backup that server?
Are your backups on a different machine?
Do you have offsite backups?
All good questions, all best practices.
But let’s stop talking about “backups.” Doing a backup is too low a bar. Any experienced system administrator will tell you that they have a great backup plan, the trouble comes when you have to restore.
And that’s when you discover that:
The minimum bar for a reliable service is not that you have done a backup, but that you have done a restore. If you’re running a web service, you need to be able to show me that you can build a reasonably recent copy of the entire site, in a reasonable amount of time, on a new server or servers without ever accessing anything that was in the original data center. The bar is that you’ve done a restore.
Let’s stop asking people if they’re doing backups, and start asking if they’re doing restores.
You’re reading Joel on Software, stuffed with years and years of completely raving mad articles about software development, managing software teams, designing user interfaces, running successful software companies, and rubber duckies.
I’m Joel Spolsky, co-founder of Fog Creek Software, a New York company that proves that you can treat programmers well and still be highly profitable. Programmers get private offices, free lunch, and work 40 hours a week. Customers only pay for software if they’re delighted. We make Trello, insanely simple project management, FogBugz, an enlightened bug tracker designed to help great teams develop brilliant software, and Kiln, which simplifies source control. I’m also the co-founder and CEO of Stack Exchange. More about me.