Always buy two (different) computers for mission critical applications

Ryan Weal

September 04, 2007

The mantra "always have a backup" is a good phrase to live by. This past Friday my computer parts arrived and what followed was a hunt to find all the proper drivers. After a day I was back in order and everything was blazing fast. In the planning stages of this project I recognized that I would be buying something other than commodity hardware: I wanted a quiet energy-saving version of a computer that could fit on my bookshelf. So I bought two.

Justification for buying two computers is easy in my world. I'm always telling people about some fun things you can do with servers but it's hard to demonstrate when all your important files are just sitting there waiting to be corrupted by a demonstration. A second computer would be great for experimentation with new software and if I get bored with it I can always find a home for it, after all, it's so little. Even as a simple music player it would serve a very fitting purpose.

So when the crashes started I was a little taken aback. I had plans for this system and suddenly I wasn't so sure. Memories of computing past came back to haunt me. That time I bought a multimedia kit for my 486 computer which never worked at all, the second one I quickly killed by crossing some wires, and so on. It happened more recently with my Blackberry which promises "instant mail" but takes up to 15 minutes to arrive (if you're lucky and the servers aren't overwhelmed like usual). Promises not delivered for one reason or another and unfortunately all to common in the technology arena.

Once again my high hopes were quickly shot down.

Then I thought about the purpose of this adventure. It's to help me get my business off the ground. By September I was hoping to be in the late planning stages. So far, still on target. This computer is a serious threat to my productivity though. With this in mind I looked across the room and suddenly that spare computer I bought never looked so sexy.

So this is round two. I'm now up and running on the second computer with my fingers crossed, hoping for the sake of my timelines that this one will do the trick. Sure, I won't have that spare tire lying around anymore but isn't this exactly what a spare tire is for? In this case, it certainly is.