I hinted at the start of yesterday’s post that we were having some fairly catastrophic hardware failures at work, and for those curious, I wanted to elaborate on that a little bit.

For those not technically/network-engineeringly inclined, all our resources are interconnected. Two big 48-terabyte storage systems, which mirror each other, both failed on Tuesday. Forty-eight terabytes is the equivalent of  750 of the biggest iPhones, in terms of storage. Alternatively, it is 12 million MP3 files. So we are talking a lot of space.

This hardware failure causes a couple of headaches, the first being data recovery. We do have a data-backup system in place to recall data; however, at its current pace, it is going to take about 15 days running 24/7 to recover what files we do have under backup. The time lost just to recover as much as we can is enormous. In addition, because of the vast amount of data we had, not all of it is under backup . . . so there will be a tremendous amount of resources needed to determine what was lost, what can be regenerated, and what we can get rid of going forward.

I wanted to bring this up here on my personal blog because I wanted to stress the importance of coming up with a logical plan for your own personal data. So much of our personal lives is now in a digital format, and all it takes is for one hard drive to stop spinning for it all to be washed away. A lot of times, people don’t really think of it until they already go through the loss of a broken computer. Hopefully this will help some of you avoid that.

The easiest thing to do is to buy an external hard drive, like this one here. There are really good software programs now for both Macs and PCs that continuously back up your computer, so in the event of a failure, you would be able to do a full restore. On Macs, it is called “Time Machine.” For less than 100 bucks, it can save quite a lot of aggravation and tears, not to mention complete loss of important things. There are also cloud-based services, though I have no personal experience with them.

Think about what you are currently doing and determine if your setup is worth backing up. Would you be okay to wake up one day and have to start fresh?