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Hi. I wanted to let you know that WindowsSecrets.com was unavailable on July 3 and the early part of July 4. A serious electrical fire shut down the Web hosting company in Seattle that we and hundreds of other sites rely on. Windows Secrets came back online at approximately 9:15 a.m. Pacific Time July 4.
It is ESPECIALLY important that you enter an alternate e-mail address. This is your own personal “disaster recovery” plan. Companies change their filtering policies every day, and sometimes readers stop getting the newsletters they’ve subscribed to or paid for. When we receive a bounce notification, we send a short alert to your alternate address. This is the ONLY use we make of this information, and many people have thanked us for informing them of a problem affecting their inbound mail.
Our own disaster-recovery plan consisted simply of switching to a maintenance server, which displayed a message about the hosting company’s fire. As a small gaggle of writers, we found the cost of buying and synchronizing two servers in separate data centers too great. Instead, we chose to locate our equipment at a “hardened” data center, with dual diesel generators that could power the hardware indefinitely in case of any power outage.
When the blaze started, however, fire marshals ordered the evaculation of the entire building, and the generators could not be run. This knocked out some very big Web sites, not just our own. Authorize.net, one of the world’s largest credit-card gateways, couldn’t process transactions online for its 238,000 clients for about 12 hours. Bing Travel (a component of Microsoft’s new Bing search engine) was dark for even longer.
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What’s your “disaster recovery” strategy?
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