JournalSpace data loss terminal

January 7, 2009 // 11:52 a.m.

Tags: #backup #crack #cracker #data-loss #disaster-recovery #journalspace #lagomorphics #raid

The folks behind blogging site JournalSpace.com have learned the hard way that RAID is not a substitute for backups, with the news that a disgruntled ex-employee has taken down the site completely.

According to an article on BetaNews, the bloggers-turned-sysadmins behind JournalSpace relied on a dual-disk mirrored RAID system to keep their precious SQL databases safe. Unfortunately – but perhaps not surprisingly – while the RAID mirror would keep the website ticking over in the event of a single disk failure, it is powerless to prevent data loss due to software failure or active sabotage.

It's the latter that the JournalSpace admins believe caused all their data to disappear in the blink of an eye: the admins claim that a “disgruntled member of the Lagomorphics [hosting company] team” was responsible for the data loss, and say that the individual in question “sabotaged some key servers several months ago after he was caught stealing from the company.”

Once the data was gone, the company tried to recover the files from what they, perhaps naively, believed was a 'backup' – only to find that when a file in a mirrored RAID system is gone from one drive, it's naturally gone from the other. Despite sending the disks to a data recovery company, the data was gone for good.

While this is a perfect lesson in why RAID is not a substitute for backups, it's one that the company has learned at a very dear cost: according to the website the company is shutting its doors, with the domain name being offered for sale on eBay. Customers who have lost their journals are pointed at Google's cache as the best way to retrieve at least some of their personal data.

While it's sad to see a company fail – especially as a result of possible vandalism – it's perhaps amazing that JournalSpace was able to last for an entire six year period without a backup procedure in place. Perhaps the founders, Dylan and Holland Rhodes, will get one set up for their remaining on-line ventures – Mac-specialist hosting company Lagomorphics and photo-sharing site Reezle.com.

Did this tale of digital woe have you running to check your backups, or are you safe in the knowledge that your disaster recovery plan is in place? Was this an accident waiting to happen, even without a disgruntled ex-admin in the mix? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

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