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The Canard Zone is Back Online


Hello Everyone,

First off, please allow me to express my regrets and sincere apologies for not being able to return the Canard Zone back to service until now. The Canard Zone being offline was not a result of a conscious or calculated decision whatsoever. I am certain that I have personally missed the Canard Zone as much as anyone else in the community, and have been burdened by resolving the issue for years now.

What happened?

Sometime on/after January 27th of 2010 the building where the Canard Zone was housed suffered a break-in while another tenant was moving out. In addition to several pieces of equipment going missing, application servers were removed from the datacenter that were essential to the Canard Zone's operation (and not to mention my business' customer projects). While no data was lost or compromised, the overall impact overwhelmed many aspects of my life at the time. I felt compelled to keep a low profile regarding the break-in over fear of being sued at the time.

The aftermath

Immediately after the break-in was discovered I secured the data, the databases, and any and all content relating to the Canard Zone onto redundant backups in separate off-site storage locations. After several months of tending to these business and related personal matters, the pain and weight of leaving the Canard Zone offline grew too heavy, and I began to consider options for restoring the Canard Zone to service. All options would require a fair amount of work, so I began to look for ways to streamline its future operations (most members were not aware of the massive effort required to keep spammers out, as spam-posts were never visible to the community).

Whatever was to be put back online simply could not require "staff" and volunteers to spend inordinate amounts of time pulling weeds that were growing wild. At the time spammers had mastered the art of attacking forums with junk posts which typically involved forum admins pre-approving new members one-by-one. While this might sound easy on a Google mail group, try doing it for 1,000 new users/day, fed from some specialized software designed for this one purpose.

After a substantial amount of system rebuilding, research, and trials of new software, I was able to orchestrate the rather complex sequence of database conversion steps required to get the Canard Zone online to where it is now. This involved several interim conversion steps, with the requirement being to NOT lose any data whatsoever. Compressed from the calendar months it took, the activity represented several weeks worth of actual work. As you can see all of the forum data and membership has been restored.

So now what?

I assure you that I will not be going through this again. A disaster recovery plan has been drafted and will allow for the Canard Zone to return to service (in the event of a catastrophic failure) within days. I am committed that the Canard Zone will be online and available at least until my death (hopefully 40+ years from now, but more realistically under community control before then). As a result of this transformation, the following have been put in place:
  • Operating in a cloud/hosted environment (no physical access)
  • Modern software designed with spam prevention in mind; no spammers allowed
  • Will operate as a permanent Internet project, similar to Wikipedia.
  • Opportunity for growth and additional functionality
I'll be looking to tune the current software's operation before adding anything additional, such as photo galleries, news articles and blogs, file downloads, and other things we expect as Internet travelers.

I do hope you appreciate that the Canard Zone is back, and I very much look forward to reading your updates in the near future.

Sincerely,
Jon

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