I’ve received a lot of great feedback on Becoming a Jedi and was planning on having the next episode done already. Unfortunately lightning struck twice. While fighting a horrid sore throat -likely the same illness that had Roy Osherove missing two of his three DevTeach presentations – my motherboard on my main dev box died a horrible BSOD death and corrupted my RAID array during its death throes. I’m picking up new hardware tomorrow and rebuilding the RAID array from a recent backup. Fingers crossed, I should be back in business and recording later this week, which would mean a new episode sometime next week. Thanks to everyone for your patience.

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I cannot stress enough the value of a good backup plan. My main workstation stores everything on a RAID 0+1 array. I have essential data (client documents, family photos, corporate information) replicated between multiple computers via FolderShare. Any development or writing is stored in a Subversion repository – public or private depending on the work. Each computer is backed up using Vista’s Backup, which is far superior to Windows Backup in previous versions. Those backups include more files than is replicated via FolderShare. (FolderShare limits you to 10,000 files per library, which isn’t enough if you’ve got a few Subversion working copies kicking around in there.)

Now why do you need a good replication and backup strategy if you’re storing your information on a RAID 0+1 array? You can rebuild the array if a drive fails. Aren’t the replication and backups redundant? For those who skipped the beginning of this blog post, you need backups just in case your motherboard dies a horrible death and corrupts your RAID array. Or you realize that you accidentally deleted an important file a few days ago and in the meantime you’ve emptied the Recycle Bin and run a defrag. RAID arrays – while fantastic for protecting you from drive failures (RAID 1 or 5), or increasing performance (RAID 0), or both (RAID 0+1) – still do exactly what you – or the operating system – tell them to do. If the operating system crashes horribly and while doing so, sends the command to format c:, guess what’s going to happen?

So do yourself a favour and make sure your backups are in order. You never know when you’re going to need them next…