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Back up and Redundancy



[Ongoing series of blog posts to inform potential developers, users and (hopefully investors) about this new app ecosystem I am architecting, designing, developing and deploying. More details at this page]

A lifetime of working with computers has taught me a couple of things, and one of the thing I learnt is the amount of issues that are raised because of poor supply in, well, in the cities we live in. For reasons that are beyond the scope of this document, it is essential to focus a lot on backup systems, and power management is the first big topic on backups.

Power Backup

One must assume from the word go that we cannot always rely on continuous power supply, where we live. Power cuts can go from 10 minutes to an hour to 8 hours to a day. It is simply impossible to assume that something will be available without interruptions. That means, if an essential project is at hand, then, it is best to prepare for every eventuality.

That is why having multiple computing devices (as explained in the hardware section) with at least some of them powered by portable battery becomes essential to keep work proceeding without any issues. That is why, I recommend at least two battery powered computing devices, and not to forget general backup supply to the main workstation PC.

Further, it would also be a good idea to invest in a home power backup system, although, I must admit that those things cost a bomb. If the task at hand is critical enough, investing in a diesel power generator is also a good option, and if the supply of money is good, even essential.

Redundancy

Computing devices can break down for a number of reasons. They could get stolen. Parts could simply stop working, and input devices in particular can die without any warning. All in all, redundancy takes on a brand new meaning because of this.

That is why, multiple computing devices must be hand. Also, don’t skimp out on the quality. If necessary, pay more for less (buy lower spec’d machine but go for the expensive warranty) so that what you have will work no matter what.

Developed code must be backed up in multiple online locations, in servers located all around the world. Offline backup must be made multiple times, and must be stored in multiple locations. Obviously, backup restore must be tested, and disaster plans must be exercised and recovery plans tested and verified when the worst happens.

A recovery plan (tied to a backup plan) that does not work means, you are effectively walking around without a helmet.

Redundancy also means that all the work (at least the one’s that are currently being worked on) are cloud enabled. That way when disaster strikes, you should be able to setup a completely new work machine into your own, assuming superfast internet access. This is perhaps, the most essential redundancy plan there should be.

Other Thoughts

When it comes to backup and redundancy, a certain amount of patience and planning becomes essential. The idea behind having a backup and redundancy plan is not because you expect something to go wrong. In fact, many projects go just fine without any issues. That makes the entire activity related to backup and redundancy an exercise of wastage. This is similar to how some people don’t want to pay for warranty extension because, well, most of the time, the hardware simply works. However, errors are part of any system and such a system manufactured the hardware. So, yes, having warranty makes sense.

Remember this. You might as well have something and not use it, than need it, and not have it.

[Last Updated February 10th 2017]

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