The ramblings of a developer
Every year we should try to improve and do a little better than the last. That is why, effective January 1, 2013, we will be improving our backup strategy to include 90 days worth of retention. Let's take a few minutes to review our backup strategy.
Every day, a snapshot of the entire server is made. This provides us with a mechanism to fully recover the server in case something catastrophic happens. This backup is meant as a last resort and is not accessed or used unless really needed.
Every 4 hours, all files that have been changed are backed up onsite. This means that any file that has been around for longer than 4 hours can be recovered and restored. It does not, however, include databases or mail messages.
Every night, a full account backup is performed for all users on Javabean Hosting. This backup includes all files, email, and databases in the user's account. The backup is then shipped off to Amazon S3 for safe keeping. This is where the changes are being made.
These changes mean that, to restore a backup older than 72 hours, it will take longer for us to recover. Unlike S3 where access is instant, the time it takes to recover files from Amazon Glacier is currently 3 - 5 hours. Once the files are retrieved, it may take us another 3 - 5 hours to fully restore your account.
Backups are essential and the more there are, the better. However, every time we have to restore files, we're always recovering from a version that is less than 24 hours old. As a result, we find that we don't need to retain immediate access to 30 days worth of backups. Instead, we believe we can maintain a balance of retention and availability by keeping recent backups in S3 and longer term backups in Glacier.