Aegir stung me and Linode couldn’t heal me

2 minutters læsning

I came across a nasty bug in Aegir today. Apparently it is still possible to loose data even if you try to do all the right things. I wanted to test some new stuff on my site. I cloned my production site to test the new stuff out on the clone. For some reason the clone never finished, so I deleted it. And did not think more about it. Then I went out of the office for a couple of hours. Coming back, I see that my production site is down with no database access.

I quickly went the the mysql database to see whether I could login in another way. But mysql SHOW TABLES did not help me at all. My database was gone. I went to #aegir on IRC, and I was not the only one who experienced this. It is an edge case, but a fairly critical edge case.

Other than that, I really like Aegir. I am just sad, that I did not install it on Barracuda and Octopus instead.

You can loose up to six days of work with Linode’s backup plan

I thought that I was secure when buying the backup plan at my hosting provider, Linode.

In my opinion the backup plan at Linode leaves a lot of room for improvement. They have one daily backup. Two weekly backups. And one manual backup. In my case the backup was run just before, I discovered that Aegir swallowed my database, but after it was gone.

Today is Tuesday. The weekly backup is on Sundays. That means that the most recent backup before the database disappeared is from Sunday. That means that two days of work is gone. Say it had been Saturday, six days of work is gone.

Support even told me today, that they are not planning on changing that behavior:

“We do not plan on making any changes to our backups system at this time - there will always be one daily backup slot, two weekly backups slots, and one manual backup slot.

… Please note that you can take a manual snapshot at any time - this will not be overwritten until you take another manual snapshot.”

And for that, they are charging 5$ a month. I think they should make a backup a day for a week available, and I think they should provide r1soft backups, so you can retrieve any file and not only restore to full system images.

Other than that, I have been very satisfied with Linode. I am just sad, that one first discovers failures in the chosen backup plan when it is too late.”

Aegir and backup contrib modules

Based on my experience, I also quickly installed hosting_backup_queue and hosting_backup_gc. Still haven’t decided what to do about the Linode backups. But really I should use Barracuda and Octopus. Barracuda comes with an integrated backup solution. But for that I need a clean server, and where should all my sites go in the mean time?



I really like Linode as well, but also find their backup service lacking. I use Aegir a little differently though. I run Aegir on a local dev server and push out to remote Linode hosts. My dev server is built on Turnkey Linux (Ubuntu) which features built in backup to Amazon S3. I also use Hosting Backup Queue. So Aegir uses hosting backup queue to backup the live sites to the dev server and then the whole dev server gets backed up to S3 and to a local source as well. While I haven’t tried it, Barracuda should install on Turnkey Linux. While trickey, it is also possible to use your own images on Linode as well. I am not familiar with Barracuda’s backup, how does that work? I have one Barracuda dev server running more as an expirement also.


That’s how linode is. Their support offers nothing more than dry answer, they don’t negotiate, they don’t move from their point of view, they are not flexible, they don’t empathize with the customer. They generally offer a good product till now, they get stuck with that, and they don’t offer any feeling of true customer care. Their support answers are as dry and as inflexible, as coming from a public service. They don’t say that they may even consider it in the future or nothing like that. They are just technical guys, and don’t know much about marketing and customer relations. The only solution to change this is to make a lot of users complain. They are driven by complains or competition, and not by market’s signals. You sent them a signal (customer feedback), they ignored it. So, you just have to amplify it. There are few companies that are really gentle in their support and consider users’ feedback seriously. You are right their backup is not good. Some days it may not even work, and you just get an email saying that for some reason backup did not work, and they ll investigate. But they don’t offer automatic refund for it, if you don’t ask. Their DNS service is also pretty basic. Generally they are relaxed because they offer a good VPS service, but their subservices are not something special. They seem not to care to about the subservices at all, because they are doing great with VPS core service. But they ignore the fact that like that they open a door to the customer to start investigating for alternatives. First you ll investigate for better backup, then better DNS. Like that the customer learns about new companies, like that the customer may go away in the future. Customer does not forget ignorance. The most important as a customer is to feel that they take care of your needs or at least consider and discuss them. Just informing the customer “that’s how we are, we don’t think we have to change, but you must change something” is a no-no for marketing. Good luck, and inform us about your solutions to the problem. Thanks for the article

Mark Muhleder

Well $5 a month isn’t much for keeping two backups. Keeping 7 daily backups would need 4 times the storage, I tried that on S3 but switched back to 1 daily backup when I saw how much it was costing me. Having said that, massive data loss sucks. I had a similar experience with Aegir a couple of years ago. Luckily it *just* deleted all the files on my production sites, and I could get them back from the daily backups. Haven’t touched Aegir since.


We use linode but we have set up binary backups on all of our MySQL server instances using bin logs. They store for a week. It’s like git for databases! We then also use backup ninja as well, works out quite nicely. I wouldn’t ever rely on someone else for database backups!


Aegir is fairly solid in my experience and it made my development life easier for sure. Now getting Barracuda and Octopus working, and it seems to be pretty clever. Looking forward to seeing whether it is the promised performance boost from a Linode that I setup myself.


I had to restore my two days old backup. The office was not happy, as they typed in a lot of data in those days.


Seems you have found something, but you might want to check out which is actually run by the developer of Barracuda and Octopus :)

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