[Foundation-l] Request: WMF commitment as a long term cultural archive?

phoebe ayers phoebe.wiki at gmail.com
Thu Jun 2 19:22:26 UTC 2011

On Thu, Jun 2, 2011 at 11:52 AM, George Herbert
<george.herbert at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Thu, Jun 2, 2011 at 10:55 AM, David Gerard <dgerard at gmail.com> wrote:
>> On 2 June 2011 18:48, Fae <faenwp at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> In 2016 San Francisco has a major earthquake and the servers and
>>> operational facilities for the WMF are damaged beyond repair. The
>>> emergency hot switchover to Hong Kong is delayed due to an ongoing DoS
>>> attack from Eastern European countries. The switchover eventually
>>> appears successful and data is synchronized with Hong Kong for the
>>> next 3 weeks. At the end of 3 weeks, with a massive raft of escalating
>>> complaints about images disappearing, it is realized that this is a
>>> result of local data caches expiring. The DoS attack covered the
>>> tracks of a passive data worm that only activates during back-up
>>> cycles and the loss is irrecoverable due backups aged over 2 weeks
>>> being automatically deleted. Due to no archive strategy it is
>>> estimated that the majority of digital assets have been permanently
>>> lost and estimates for 60% partial reconstruction from remaining cache
>>> snapshots and independent global archive sites run to over 2 years of
>>> work.
>> This sort of scenario is why some of us have a thing about the backups :-)
>> (Is there a good image backup of Commons and of the larger wikis, and
>> - and this one may be trickier - has anyone ever downloaded said
>> backups?)
>> - d.
> I've floated this to Erik a couple of times, but if the Foundation
> would like an IT disaster response / business continuity audit, I can
> do those.

Right, when Fae asked her question I was thinking of the more
philosophical type of planning for storage that archives often do ("as
a matter of course we retain documents for 10 years, or in perpetuity,
or whatever"); but disaster and backup planning are also relevant.
That's documented as a part of technical operations rather than as
board-level policies; I think we're all on the same page about caring
about this issue though. It is also relevant that the WMF is a
financially stable non-profit, and thus unlikely to go out of business
through the vagaries of the market.

-- phoebe

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