Ma.gnolia.com was a bookmark storing and sharing service (similar to Delicious.com) that has shut down due to data loss. The company started several years ago and built a small, but adoring user community that liked Ma.gnolia’s easy-to-use API and caching of linked pages. The service was the work of Larry Halff who nearly single-handedly built the service.
Alas, as for many companies without a good backup, data loss caused a mortal wound: Ma.gnolia completely shut down on February 17th, 2009.
Larry explained that when he started the company several years ago, no good cloud-based backup services existed, thus requiring him to develop his own backup. The backup was doing a file sync over Firewire to another computer. Unfortunately there was no integrity checking, no versioning, and the system was never tested to see if the backups worked. When it came time to restore, it turns out they did not.
People often assume simply setting up a copy or sync process is sufficient for backup, only to discover the issues with this when a restore is needed. At Backblaze, every file is compressed, encrypted, de-duplicated, and integrity-checked to ensure the backed up file exactly matches the original.
Larry intends to develop a new service and says when starting the new company, “My first priority is better backups.”
We wish Larry the best with his new service and hope others benefit from Larry’s pain.