July Downtime

22:00 Sun 24 Jul 2011
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Observant readers may have noticed that tadhg.com was unavailable for much of last week, from Sunday 17 July to yesterday, 23 July. This affected my email as well as my blog, so if you sent me email in that period, it’s entirely possible that I didn’t get it (and, therefore, you should send it to me again if you haven’t heard from me).

The downtime was caused by problems with the host machine’s RAID array/controller; in turn it looks as if these were caused by overheating arising from fan malfunction. My brother heroically rescued the data from the array after it appeared all was lost—which is why the blog was back up on Saturday. It would have taken me a lot longer to get it running again if I’d had to basically rebuild from scratch, and I’m sure there would have been significant gaps in things like comments.

As it was, my WordPress installation didn’t come back up on its own, complaining about database connection errors. It took me a while to figure out that these were actually due to problems with specific tables in the MySQL database, and that I needed to run first CHECK TABLE and then REPAIR TABLE on a bunch of them to restore them. Once I did that, everything was fine again.

I also had to run svnadmin repair on one of my Subversion repositories, but that fixed things.

There are other plans for better backups in the offing, but I need to make the move to distributed version control, and to make sure I have more frequent database backups. For now, though, I’m just happy that data recovery was possible and that everything is back up.

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