CodePlex: Did they forget to back up a server?

CSSFriendly, the ASP.Net CSS Friendly Control Adapters, is an open source project I contribute to. Source code, issue tracking, and other services are provided using CodePlex, Microsoft’s alternative to SourceForge. Since last week, our source control server (Team Foundation Server, or TFS) has been down.

The reason for the downtime, as reported by someone on the CodePlex team:

At 3pm PDT on April 11th an operator error occurred that caused source control and issue tracker data on one of the Microsoft CodePlex servers to be accidentally overwritten. During the standard data recovery effort, a recovery backup configuration oversight was discovered in the routine backup process for this CodePlex server which is currently impacting immediate restoration of the data.

Fortunately, thanks to my years of experience in medium and large organizations, I can translate this into layman terms:

At 3pm PDT on April 11th someone screwed up and accidentally blew out one of the CodePlex servers. When we looked for the backup tapes, we realized that this server was never being backed up, forcing us to use expensive and time-consuming data recovery services to get the data back without too much egg on our faces.

Granted, this is speculation, but it’s the only plausible reason why you can’t get a server back online in four days. Fortunately our project has only been going for a few weeks, and we don’t have a significant history of source code changes or work items. Still, this does not give me any confidence in using CodePlex for any other projects, especially considering my excellent experience with Hosted-Projects.com and the availability of Google Code and SourceForge.

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