An Ode to Source Control (or On The Importance of Backups)

It’s amazing how the time slips away on you – it’s been almost a month since I’ve posted anything – and I meant to post this for World Backup Day on March 31st.

I almost lost the code for FeedSpider the other day – or at least I would have if I didn’t have a proper source control system set up. I was making some changes, and accidentally deleted the wrong file. This could have been disastrous, but fortunately, I had the changes committed to Git. But it got me to thinking…

I have what I like to think of as a robust backup system. My code is backed up to source control (separate from everything else), and all of the computers are backed up to the local server, which, in turn, is backed up to cloud based storage using CrashPlan so that I can still retrieve it in case of a catastrophic emergency.

This has saved me more than once – one time my laptop wouldn’t boot and the troubleshooting advice from Apple boiled down to “You’re screwed. Format and reinstall.” Fortunately, I had a time capsule backup from the previous night, so I did just that and went on with my day. In another situation, one of our guys accidentally clicked on a phishing link in an email, and got infected. He still had to change all of his stored passwords, but rather than try and “clean” his computer, I just stuck in the restore CD and restored it from the previous night’s backup.

It’s nice to be in a situation where I have enough redundancy where I don’t have to lose sleep at night worrying about something happening to my hardware. But many people don’t, and in my years of tech work, I’ve seen more data lost due to a lack of backups than I would care to remember. So, in the spirit of World Backup Day, I’m here to help. Let me know what your situation is, and I can help you come up with a backup solution that works for you.

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