Where’s Everything Gone?

November 15th, 2006 by

Well… a couple of people mentioned to me today that my website was down. Fine, I thought, there’s sometimes a glitch with the hosted server, and if I just raise a support ticket they’ll restart the mySQL server or at worst, restore from a backup.

Except… it turns out their monthly, weekly and daily backups didn’t include my mySQL databases, as the backup had been misconfigured.

So … that’s all the content of this site lost. Around 700+ postings, all the comments, all the pages, all the links, all gone. Nice one. I’ve managed to recreate the wordpress database and put up this initial posting, but as for all the old content, it looks like it’s gone. As will I be, when I sort out a new hosting provider, but until then, sorry folks, all the old stuff is no more.

UPDATE: It’s all still lost, but I’ve managed to copy a few recent pages from blog aggregators such as biblogs.com. When I get back from the UKOUG, I’ll try and restore a few more, but all the old stuff is still lost, unless any readers have got copies of any old articles they’d like to see restored.

UPDATE 2: Well, if you’re interested in how it happens, here’s the gory details. Thanks to everyone for the suggestions; the internet wayback machine goes back to March this year, which I’ll probably point people to for older content. A couple of people have got archives of recent posts, feeds etc so I’ll be contacting them separately to get hold of their copies. Other than that, thanks for the commisserations/best wishes, and I’ll just have to make up for it by posting a few more good articles soon…


  1. Kirill Says:

    Oh man,

    I’m so sorry. I can’t even imagine how you feel :(
    You are one of my favorite reference for a long time.

    But! There should be some backup! MySQL database is plain files with .MYD, .MYI extentions so they might do files backup and that could include mysql.
    Oracle has bunch of your articles and probably some guys as well. I’ll send you some of your posts that I saved locally.
    I think would be fare enough if your readers help you to restore at least recent posts.

  2. John Scott Says:


    What a nightmare! However all might not be lost *just* yet, it should be possible to recover quite a few of your pages from the Google cache, for example go to google and type in ‘www.rittman.net’ and choose the ‘cache’ link should give you the last cached version of your home page that Google has, also to get back sub pages you can type in ‘cache:http://www.rittman.net/category/application-server/‘ into the Google search field to get back the cached version of a particular URL.

    If you’re quick you might just be able to get some of your pages back before Google updates it’s cache.

    Hope this helps mate.


  3. Bence Says:

    Mark, the Internet Archive Wayback Machine may help:

  4. tobias Says:

    You can get some (most perhaps) of it back via the waybackmachine:



    It looks like you can get back to March 2006.

    They accept donations (non-profit and tax deductible if applicable): http://www.archive.org/donate/

  5. Scott Powell Says:

    Mark, very sorry to hear this – your website has always been the first place I turn to for information on Oracle BI and DW.

    Just as a question – any chance you have the old backups you did before you did the last major overhaul on this site (maybe 3 – 4 months ago it seems like)?

    Best wishes,

  6. Anders Says:

    Google claims to have 2520 pages. Just grab it from there. But better be quick about it before they refresh their cache.

  7. Sten Says:

    You might be able to find some of your old articles from here:

  8. vidya Says:

    I am so sorry :(
    Well I was hoping to look up some information on the Siebel Analytic Server on your site (I haven’t been able to find a downlowd of it at edeliver) – All edelivery has is the Siebel CRM Application Suite and was wondering if the Analytic Server was part of it. Tried the site a couple of times this morning – and though that I probably had it bookmarked incorrectly.
    I am so sorry, I hope you will be able to recover the conent.

  9. Eddie Awad Says:

    Sorry Mark,

    In this situation, as in many others, Google is your friend: site:rittman.net. Look for the cached version.

    You will also find archive.org very handy.

  10. Nicholas Goodman Says:

    So sorry mark. Quite unfortunate. :(

  11. Henry Collingridge Says:

    This sucks, but as someone else noticed, there’s tons of stuff at waybackmachine.org.

    Good luck with the rebuild – hope it’s not too much of a pain in the arse.

  12. Abhinav Says:

    This is horrible! As other people have commented, try Google’s cached results, the web archive… There is simply too much of very good content to lose… Can’t even imagine how you feel..

    – abhinav

  13. Nigel Thomas Says:

    Mark, you should consider using wget (http://www.gnu.org/software/wget/) to pull your content from the Google and/or archive.org caches in one ‘easy’ hit.

    Hey, at least it gives you something to do once UKOUG is over…

    Good luck!

  14. Robbert Says:

    I have your RSS feeds from september 6th onward. The RSS feeds contain the complete article including images. I’ll be happy to send you these if you’d like (If so, send me a mail)

    I’m sure other people will have even older feeds.


  15. Robbert Says:

    Hmm, small correction, the RSS feeds contain the links to the images which aparently are not gone

  16. Scott Says:

    Bad luck Mark.

    It might be a bit late this time around, but for next time there is a free WordPress plugin available at http://www.skippy.net/blog/category/wordpress/plugins/wp-db-backup/ for backups on demand that can either be stored on the server, downloaded locally, or emailed to a nominated account.

  17. Michael Armstrong-Smith Says:

    You must be distraught about losing your blog. I would be livid and on the verge of pulling my teeth out. Yours is one THE sites par excellence. What an absolutely horrible situation this is. I can’t imagine how you must feel right now. Looking at some of the other postings it looks like you will be able to recover a lot of what has been deleted which is good news. We’re all on your side. Take care.

  18. Tim Hall Says:


    I know it’s a total ball ache, but you really should consider ripping all the information from either google cache or the way back machine and recreating as much of the content as you can on your site.

    I’d be happy to muck-in and help you if you want to do it. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy or fun, but I’d die if it happened to me, so I’d like to see this get resolved for you.

    You know where I am. Let me know what you think!



  19. Scott Mitchell Says:

    Mark, I should be able to pull all of your old postings from the beginning of BI Blogs out of my database. I’m not exactly sure what format I can get it in, but it will help just let me know.

  20. mark Says:

    Tim – cheers! Hopefully it’s not going to come to that, but I might set up a distributed web-scraping operation soon for whoever’s interested, once I get hold of say the top 50 articles from the site from my server logs.

    Scott – nice one. If you can send this across, in some form of text document as HTML markup, that’d be excellent.

  21. Mark Rittman » Sunopsis Data Conductor : Creating an Oracle Project Says:

    […] In this first article since the “Amazing November 2006 Blog Catastrophe”, I’m going to go back to Sunopsis Data Conductor and look at what’s involved in putting your own project together, running against Oracle datasources and targets. For anyone who’s not kept up with the Oracle news, Sunopsis are the ETL vendor Oracle are in the process of buying, and in this section, I’ll look at creating the repositories and registering the data servers, with future articles looking at setting up the data mappings and deploying the process. […]

  22. Howard Rogers Says:

    I don’t know who your current hosting provider is, but can I recommend http://www.lunarpages.com for when you change? Their Basic Hosting plan is exceptional.

    Reliable and efficient with a helpdesk that works… and cheap.

  23. Peter K Says:

    What can I say? If you need help with gathering your articles from the various sources, give me a shout.

  24. Jeff Moss Says:

    I’m speechless.

    Good luck with the retrieval – I hope you get most of it back.

  25. Arno van der Kolk Says:


    What an unfortunate mess. :( I have a list of posts in my aggregator (SharpReader) going back ’til april 26th 2004. I’m not sure if I can export anything, but I could send you the datafiles if you wish. Just contact me if needed.

    Good luck with everything.


  26. Henrik Verup Says:

    Hi Mark,

    My sincere condolencies!

    I have a copy (in Word) of your article “Working through some SCD 2 and 3 examples Using OWB10gR2″. Please let me know if you would like to receive it by mail, so you can put it back on your website.

  27. Pierre M Says:

    I wish most blogger had a “export as xml” or so backup mechanism where you could take a extra care for your writings.
    As many of your reader, I may still have copies (pdf or paper) of some of your papers. Please let me know if I have to dig in and recover whatever I find. Thanks to google cache and internet archive (and time), you might be able to recover the most important stuff.

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  29. Mark Rittman » Appeal - Help With A Blog “Distributed Recovery”… Says:

    […] Quite a few people have written to me over the last couple of days, offering to help re-enter some of the more popular blog entries that were lost from this site earlier last week – I’m really touched that so many people have offered to chip in and help. So … if anyone’s still interested, I’ve pulled together a list of fifty or so of the most popular pages from October and November, and therefore if anyone who’s interested, and […]

  30. Kirtan Says:

    So sorry to hear this mark!!! I hope you can retrieve all the articles back. Wish you luck!!!

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