Data erase hits TV Central blog

Updated: Australian television blog TV Central has had its entire news archive erased after the alleged failure of a migration by its webhost.

All back up and history were lost.

Editor Aaron Ryan says he was advised of the news at 1:30pm yesterday.

“Not since the death of my sister back in 1997 have I been dealt such a blow. The people that work on the site are so dedicated and I must admit that when I am not working my second job outside the television landscape I am either sleeping or working on the website.

“Every ounce of passion goes into the site and this is heartbreaking,” he said.

The Perth-based site, which is owned by Ryan and includes several Contributors, was previously known as ‘TV Auscast’ before a re-branding about two years ago.

Legal action by TV Central is said to be proceeding.

But Mr. Cheyne Jonstone, Chief Executive Officer of VentraIP Group, has since issued a Press Release denying claims made by the site.

“As always, every story has two sides, and the unfortunate situation in this story is that it is simply a case of a client not taking appropriate action when prompted. We do keep backups of our customers websites.

“On a daily basis we restore two to three accounts from our archives after a client has accidently deleted files or overwritten something they shouldn’t have, however in certain circumstances when the data volume reaches a certain size in a clients account, or the amount of server resources required to backup particular files such as video and audio reaches a limit, we inform customers in writing that due to this reason their account will no longer be part of our backup process, and that they should ensure that they have a copy of their data in the unlikely event of a server crash or if they need to restore files for any reason.

“It is not a published fact, but our system will keep the clients data in the backup system for seven days after this notice has been issued, which gives the client time to reduce the amount of data being backed up so that we can resume backing up the data on behalf of the client, or make alternate arrangements.”

In a lengthy statement on their website VentraIP details communications between TV Central’s Editor Aaron Ryan and their staff.

It says in part:

“As a highly compassionate person, I feel for Mr. Ryan’s situation and if I found that there had been any wrong doing by my staff at any stage throughout this event, I would be at his mercy. However, after a very thorough investigation and taking in to account all of the facts, I have found that our staff have acted in accordance with our tried and tested policies and procedures, and Mr. Ryan’s failure to act and respond to several written requests is ultimately the cause of this unfortunate event.

“Mr. Ryan has since made many claims to us and threatened legal action both in private and now in public, and as such we will not make any further comment on the matter.”

36 Comments:

  1. have you tried the Wayback Machine Internet Archive?

    I found a lot of content at web.archive.org/web/20110302115941/http://www.tvcentral.com.au/articles/tv-ratings/daily-results/

    Floyd #8>)

  2. Why would Aaron but at fault, they paid for a service and that service was not maintained. It’s like renting an office only to go to work one day and you office is gone.

    I’ve had some close calls in the past with personal data at home but can’t imagine the hurt from loosing so much, made worse when it’s not your fault.

    I remember a few years ago a forum I visit had a similar issue during a server upgrade, the most recent backup failed and they lost months of data/posts. It took them weeks to get back online.

    My site is edited from my Mac (which has a backup) then uploaded to the server so in the unlikely even they wipe the online copy I just have to upload it again. But I’m looking at going online with someone like WordPress. to do the editing through a web browser. Guess I’ll check their backup policy, just in case the worst happens. A few dollars on a backup drive/solution can save you a world of heartache.

    Again sorry for your loss Aaron.

  3. As an ISP engineer for over a decade who’s had lots of experience working for hosting companies that claim to take backups, it’s likely that unless you’re paying a lot of money, a) any backup taken will be for your convenience only, and not required by their terms and conditions, which will impress that it is ultimately your responsibility.

    Unsure if this is the case here, but let me tell you, when lots of backups break, or you have a huge support load, backups that you aren’t *required* to take are the very last thing you look at and fix.

    Having said all that, I’d find it surprising and negligible if the hosting provider wiped the live site accidentally during a botched upgrade or similar, and hadn’t checked that the backup system did in fact retain at Least a full snapshot of the data from at least the last 24 hours.

    Moral story: Don’t trust your host to back up anything you cannot afford to lose, unless you have specifically arranged a daily service or one is contracted into the deal.

  4. This should also serve as a warning for all of us who keep files in ‘the cloud’. Nothing is ever safe even if you pay for a service/company to store your data. You should always have at least 2 off site backups.

  5. Wishing you the best Aaron – it sucks hugely that this happened. If it were me I’d pursue legal action too – it’s not right when you spend more than two years of your life building and creating an extensive website, something that you’re personally passionate about, only to have the rug pulled out from under you by an incompetent hosting provider.

    It’s easy to say “remember to back up!” in hindsight but people saying that now doesn’t avail any of the loss you’d be feeling and is rather useless commentary. Regardless of the decision you make over whether to continue TVCentral or not, I’d like to say thanks for your work and God bless.

  6. Hmm working in IT I really can’t stress the importance of a backup. Yes the need to go to it may be rare but when all is lost you really wish you had it.
    Good luck getting back up and running Aaron, I hope it is sooner rather than later!

  7. Hello

    Aaron Ryan here. I really appreciate the support of everyone as I spend the next couple of days pondering the future of the site. I could write a 2 page response about VentraIP as well. The claims they make are simply not true. I also have evidence of what they have done and can assure you all that the mistake was on their part. Should I have had my own private back up? In hindsight absolutely. It is unfortunate that I had hired a new technical support person for the site in the last few days who would have backed up and moved the site away from Ventra within the next 2 weeks. Oh so close! Anyway I am 50/50 about whether to pull the pin or build the website from scratch using a different provider. I can genuinely say that the feeling of loss about something I am so passionate about is real – something I have not experienced since the death of my sister and for Ventra to claim this statement is outrageous is offensive to me. I will keep pondering but thanks for the support.

  8. @Adam

    Yes that may be true and all but everyone needs to realise that most cases you shouldn’t be leaving everything in the hands of the host as anything can happen. These things happen in the web world and being a web developer for the past 6 years i too have gone through a similar situation but in my case the site was hacked and all my data was corrupted and lost. This was very early on in my web developing career. Ever since then i have made sure that i warn people that backups are the most important thing and with my agreements i even offer to do the backups for them, if they are not as capable, being a person who does maintain and build websites for a living. Its an unfortunate situation and yes i feel for Aaron and his team at TV Central but ultimately if a disaster recovery plan is not in place then situations like this can occur.

    In hindsight though i do hope that Aaron and his team come back with TV Central 2.0. It would be a shame to lose everything they have built up in the past couple of years.

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