Disgruntled IT guy fells blogging site

It's better than having some jerk walk back in with a gun, but it's sure not good: The journalspace.com blog site has shut down after a "disgruntled" former IT employee used his own data-backup choice to obliterate its entire data store.

Techish reader, would you rely on RAID as your sole "backup" structure for a mission-critical SQL server? That's what the now-former keepers of journalspace did. The chosen RAID setup wrote all data to two large drives, so in theory it was a perfectly redundant disk-array (not backup!) system; if one drive blew up, the other would hold everything and life would go on smoothly.

This theory, however, failed to take into account what the folks at journalspace describe as "a disgruntled member" of the IT team, or any of the rather short list of other entities that could entirely, irretrievably overwrite both drives. (A catastrophic OS failure is a dim possibility; readers who've heard of anything similar happening on an OS X Server box are invited to pipe up.)

The site failed on December 18. When admins went to restore the data, they discovered why RAID is a fault-tolerance system, not a backup system: Someone had deleted all the data. Suspicion fell on an IT worker recently nabbed for theft -- ironically, the very fellow who set up the RAID "backup system" in the first place. The drives were removed from the hosting site and taken to DriveSavers on December 22; efforts to revive the pair were unsuccessful.

Reezle, a photo-sharing site also hosted at San Jose-based Lagomorphics, was unaffected by the incident. Both sites as well as Lagomophics are owned by half-brothers Dylan and Holland Rhodes.

Journalspace, a blogging platform, was founded in 2002. It is perhaps best known for hosting a blog for Ellen Simonetti, the Delta flight attendant fired in 2003 for posting photos of herself on a company plane.

At Dorrie's Fun Forum, a virtual watering hole for a number of journalspace users, annoyance over the outage (sample quote from "benb" on December 18: "Will JS ever get their act straight? How many times do we have to go through this before this kind of nonsense stops happening? My fear is what is happening to all of our journals right now -- what kind of carnage will we return to? Oh well. Nothing new under the sun.") through a remarkable amount of fretting within the community over various personality issues connected with the small firm.

Eventually, though, the community began to accept the new reality (from "Betty" on December 31: "I'm sick. I'm just sick. I can't believe JS is gone. Everything from almost 5 years. It can't be just over, just like that. It can't be. All my friends are scattered everywhere. I just know we'll all lose touch. I have links all over the place but have had so much to deal with here that I just can't find the energy to keep up.").

Efforts to restore the data were unsuccessful, though some bloggers have reported some success in snatching archive victory from the jaws of Google. The journalspace.net and .com domains and the journalsapce trademark are for sale on eBay. (The winner is also entitled to six months of free hosting at Lagomorphics.) According to the official blog, the site's source code may be released to the open-source community at a later time.

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