Sunday, March 11, 2018

It's Not Our Fault

I follow the Internet Storm Center's diary. Recently one of the entries related a situation with a personal NAS (Network Attached Storage) with terabytes of data. It was configured with RAID5. The NAS vendor offered a cloud backup service that he used.

He had a detailed backup plan consisting of:
  • a daily backup to a cloud storage provider
  • a monthly backup to an external disk (physically stored away from the source)
  • a file restore test performed every month (ex: restore file ‘x' backup at time ‘t’)

While this diary is about a personal situation the lessons apply to enterprise as well.

The power failed in his area and the NAS crashed hard. He reloaded the operating system and rebuild the RAID5.

No data was lost.

But then he had to “relink” the existing cloud backup with the new backup task on the NAS. That  failed with strange error messages saying that some files were not found.

After the normal "Turn it off and back on" with no success the vendor responded:
Thank you to try to log on your cloud service console to check if your files are available. If they are not available, please contact your cloud service support to get more help. We already notified them about this issue and we received a lot of complaints from other customers who are facing the same issue. You should try to see with them how to recover your files, if possible...
Remember that "your cloud service" was arranged by the NAS vendor.

Yep, his cloud backup was lost (1.5TB of data).

What if that had been YOUR enterprise data?

Have a plan. Have a backup to that plan. Test it. Test it again.

Sunday, March 04, 2018

Microsoft Image Composite Editor

Recently I was scanning some newspaper clippings. They were larger than the bed of my scanner so it took several scans to capture all of them.

One even took 4 scans. I was dreading trying to put those together to create a single image.

So I went to my favorite resource: Google.

One of the top hits was Gizmo's Freeware's page on "Best Free Digital Image Stitcher." I liked the price already.

The first entry in the list was Microsoft Image Composite Editor. I had never heard of that.
What is Image Composite Editor?
Image Composite Editor (ICE) is an advanced panoramic image stitcher created by the Microsoft Research Interactive Visual Media Group. Given a set of overlapping photographs of a scene shot from a single camera location, the app creates a high-resolution panorama that seamlessly combines the original images. ICE can also create a panorama from a panning video, including stop-motion action overlaid on the background. Finished panoramas can be shared with friends and viewed in 3D by uploading them to the Photosynth web site. Panoramas can also be saved in a wide variety of image formats, including JPEG, TIFF, and Photoshop’s PSD/PSB format, as well as the multiresolution tiled format used by HD View and Deep Zoom.
The web page is dated 2008 and the last post on the support forum is from 2011. The downloads are dated 2016 though.

But it just works!

I downloaded the 64-bit version and installed it on my Windows 10. It stitched my 4 scans together seamlessly, let me rotate easily and then crop. Exporting was one-click (after I added ICE.exe to my Controlled Folder Access).

Where has this program been all my life?