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Offline Parsifal

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New backup system
« on: March 14, 2014, 04:53:39 AM »
Today I got bored and felt like improving FES's backups, so we now have the database backups being committed into a git repository instead of being dumped out to an ordinary file. (Don't worry, it's not a public git repo; your PMs haven't just been opened up to the world.)

One benefit of this is that we now have 1-minute increments on backups. git's excellent delta compression algorithm means that we can effectively take backups as frequently as we like without significant diskspace penalty, whereas before we only had 2-hour increments due to the enormous amount of diskspace needed to store lots of database dumps.

Another benefit is that we have persistent history; previously, we were expiring old backups after about three months. I've imported all our old backups into git, so we will always be able to restore the forum as far back as 7 December, 2013 if the need arises.

The final benefit, and the one that really tickles my fancy, is that we can now easily see exactly what changes were made to the database, and when. git makes it very easy to get diffs between commits, and since we're doing a backup every minute, we can get down-to-the-minute information on when someone's signature changed, or (perhaps more usefully) when SMF did something stupid with the database that we want to fix (and exactly what it did).

I'm leaving the old backup mechanism in place for the time being, just in case we find some problem with the new one, but it seems to be working well so far.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2014, 04:55:25 AM by Parsifal »
Besides by you claiming FES isn't associated with anything out in the real you have shown any growth 

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Offline Snupes

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Re: New backup system
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2014, 11:37:33 AM »
How much, exactly, can you see? Excuse the paranoid-sounding Snupes, but are you able to see people's PMs and stuff since you can look through all that?
Quote from: garygreen date=1480782226
i also took an online quiz that said i was a giraffe.  and i guess you're dumb enough to believe that i must be because the internet said so.

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Offline Parsifal

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Re: New backup system
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2014, 11:41:16 AM »
How much, exactly, can you see? Excuse the paranoid-sounding Snupes, but are you able to see people's PMs and stuff since you can look through all that?

Yes; myself and pizaaplanet have always been able to see PMs as we've had full access to the database. Just as, on the old site, Daniel and John Davis were able to see that information. We don't make a habit of snooping around in other people's business, though.

The only information we can't see is passwords, since they're hashed in the database. If we really wanted to, it would be pretty trivial to have the forum software keep a record of everyone's passwords, but we aren't dicks.
Besides by you claiming FES isn't associated with anything out in the real you have shown any growth 

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Online Pete Svarrior

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Re: New backup system
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2014, 11:53:26 AM »
Keep in mind that it's essentially impossible to make private messages hard for admins to read without requiring the users to share some type of encryption key or password through other means than this forum (which we would necessarily have to have no control over). If someone implemented encryption but the keys were stored on the server, we could just use them to decrypt your messages.

The same goes for any other communication platform where messages are stored on the server, including Facebook and your GMail account.
Read the FAQ before asking your question - chances are we've already addressed it.
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Offline Parsifal

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Re: New backup system
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2014, 11:56:50 AM »
Yeah, this is something that isn't specific to FES (in fact, unlike providers such as Google, we have no interest in mining your data). If you're concerned about privacy, don't treat the web as a private messaging platform.
Besides by you claiming FES isn't associated with anything out in the real you have shown any growth 

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Offline Snupes

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Re: New backup system
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2014, 03:42:10 PM »
Damn.

I don't necessarily mind, since I don't think I've ever PM'd anything here that I would care about others seeing, but it's good to know I guess.
Quote from: garygreen date=1480782226
i also took an online quiz that said i was a giraffe.  and i guess you're dumb enough to believe that i must be because the internet said so.