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Backup Reviews and a Recovery Plan - Can You Sleep Well at Night?

Imagine this: It's 2 am, and you’ve just got an urgent call. The server with your application setup is down. Now, you have to restore the application on a different server. The quicker you bring the server back to life, the better.  What do you do?

To make it even more dramatic, suppose the server failure is happening during "rush hour" - the time when you have the most of the users using an app. Every minute matters. The longer it takes to repair it, the more users are getting frustrated, and the client is getting unhappier - if the client loses users, the client loses money.

You start the server recovery process:

  • you set up a new instance,
  • you download the project from the github repo,
  • you need to set up the configuration, certification and the database, but wait...
    we don't keep any configs, certifications or databases on the github repo… FAILURE.

What do you do now? Do you have any backups? Where and how can you recover anything?

Well, at Netguru you won’t have to go through such a nightmare. Why?

The Importance of Backup Reviews

Because we ALWAYS DO BACKUP REVIEWS. We won’t let you skip it. We always test if we are able to restore the whole project from backups. Every review ends with the summary and the detailed instructions including guidelines about what to do if the server is down. Read how we do it and why you should do so too.

Our Way of Doing Backups:

  • A backup is created every 24 hours.
  • The backup includes:
    • database dump,
    • secret keys,
    • certificates.
  • We compress this data and encrypt it, so even if it leaks - no one is able to see the content without the key.
  • We send the backup data to the cloud (Google Cloud Storage or Tarsnap).
  • We don’t keep any assets on our servers - we use cloud services for that.

If our backup checklist is in place - the chances of a smooth recovery are greatly increased. By doing so, we also save our client’s business. Accidents happen, that’s inevitable - but we should be as prepared as possible.

Each backup review should be done every 180 days. We set the reminders so that we’re sure we won’t forget about them.

To sum up, it’s worth doing backups because:

  • The whole project can be restored if anything bad happens to the server.
  • If the data gets corrupted, there’s always a copy available.
  • The developers can focus on adding new features knowing that the project is safe.
  • Everyone is able to restore the project.
  • Everyone is happy!

The end of this article is just about the right time for you to start your backup review. Good luck!

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