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

George Herbert george.herbert at gmail.com
Fri Jun 3 17:54:19 UTC 2011

On Thu, Jun 2, 2011 at 5:17 PM, Neil Harris <neil at tonal.clara.co.uk> wrote:
> On 03/06/11 00:44, Mark Wagner wrote:
>> On Thu, Jun 2, 2011 at 16:11, Neil Harris<neil at tonal.clara.co.uk>  wrote:
>>> Tape is -- still -- your friend here. Flip the write-protect after
>>> writing, have two sets of off-site tapes, one copy of each in each of
>>> two secure and widely separated off-site locations run by two different
>>> organizations, and you're sorted.
>> The mechanics of the backup are largely irrelevant.  What matters are
>> the *policies*: what data do you back up, when do you back it up, how
>> often do you test your backups, and so on.  Once you've got that
>> sorted out, it doesn't really matter whether you're storing the
>> backups on tape, remote servers, or magic pixie dust.
> Not quite.
> You're right about procedures, but you can't begin defining procedures
> until you have something concrete to aim at.
> Tape is the One True Way for large scale backup, even today (ask
> Google), and I thought it might be useful to give an illustration of
> just how cheap it would be to use. Tape is a great simplifier, and
> eliminates a lot of the fanciness and feature-bloat associated with more
> sophisticated systems -- more sophisticated is not necessarily better.

I have done large enterprise scale backup (not Google-scale, but there
really isn't anyone else at Google's scale...) entirely without tape,
just using nearline disk.  These days it's in fact not unreasonable to
do it that way.  Offsiting the backups via networks versus physical
tape moves are pretty much equivalent here.

That is neither here nor there to the policy question, however.

I think this is an area that I, as a technical domain expert, wish I
knew more about the WMF operations staff detailed implementation and
plans here; but the staff are competent folks and I don't know of any
actual gaps from reasonable industry practice.

If the community is sufficiently concerned that there may be a gap,
then the board should perhaps either request staff to be more open, or
get an independent consultant in to review if operational details are
thought to be sensitive.

-george william herbert
george.herbert at gmail.com

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