E-Scribe : a programmer’s blog

About Me

PBX I'm Paul Bissex. I build web applications using open source software, especially Django. Started my career doing graphic design for newspapers and magazines in the '90s. Then wrote tech commentary and reviews for Wired, Salon, Chicago Tribune, and others you never heard of. Then I built operations software at a photography school. Then I helped big media serve 40 million pages a day. Then I worked on a translation services API doing millions of dollars of business. Now I'm building the core platform of a global startup accelerator. Feel free to email me.


I co-wrote "Python Web Development with Django". It was the first book to cover the long-awaited Django 1.0. Published by Addison-Wesley and still in print!


Built using Django, served with gunicorn and nginx. The database is SQLite. Hosted on a FreeBSD VPS at Johncompanies.com. Comment-spam protection by Akismet.

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bitbucket, Django, Emacs, FreeBSD, Git, jQuery, LaunchBar, Markdown, Mercurial, OS X, Python, Review Board, S3, SQLite, Sublime Text, Ubuntu Linux

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At least 236428 pieces of comment spam killed since 2008, mostly via Akismet.

Offsite, online backup: rsync.net

This week at work we've been dealing with a hellish situation: our colocation provider (who will for now go unnamed) wiped out the live backup of one of our drives -- then overwrote the drive with a seven-day-old tape backup. Nice going, guys! So now I'm digging through my "stashed-this-away-just-in-case" backups for missing data from the past week.

We're switching to JohnCompanies.com for hosting -- I've been using them for nearly three years for my own stuff (including this site), quite happily.

As you might imagine, one goal in the switch is improving backup reliability. An important backup principle is that you actually be able to retrieve the stuff you back up -- preferably quickly and conveniently. I like mirror-style live backups; if you hose a file or directory, you can fetch a copy right from the backup filesystem. It's like having a "revert" command for your entire server.

JohnCompanies offers NFS-mounted backup on their dedicated boxes, but not on the VPS accounts. For various reasons (not primarily price) we were pretty firmly settled on the VPS, so this was a stumper. I exchanged some e-mail with Dave at JohnCompanies asking questions and explaining our goals.

This afternoon I had the pleasure of getting a phone call from the eponymous John, reminding me that a few months ago they launched rsync.net, a remote filesystem product that's exactly what we need. We can maintain a copy of our live server that's as granular and fresh as we want -- or multiple snapshots. And of course we can pull down local copies from the rsync.net server as well.

I'll try to post an update in a few weeks when we've set it up and tried it out.

Thursday, May 11th, 2006

Comment from zoot , 3 years later

I see this is a very old post, but I'm interested in feedbank on rsync.net. If you're still subscribed to their service that will be telling :)


Comment from Paul , 3 years later

zoot -- three years later, still using rsync.net happily. It's largely been a "set it and forget it" operation -- a nightly cronjob rsyncs the content we want to keep backed up. It has definitely saved my bacon a couple times.

Comment from Patent Attorney NJ , 4 years later

I'm now switching from a very good but very commercial product to RSYNC.net ... no more windows client... backup directly from my fileserver and windows share. So nice.

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