This weekend was one of those times that I thanked myself for spending a few more quid than I could have done on my web server.

Being a skinflint I built it myself, and I was quite surprised that the motherboard (which was a real cheap off-the-shelf number) came with RAID built in on its S-ATA interfaces. So since I had RAID, I spent an extra fifty quid on a second disk, and stuck them in as a mirrored pair.

I thanked myself on Friday night that I'd done that, because that's when one of the disks turned up its toes with about an hour's warning. (Said warning took the form of a couple of alerts from my management software, telling me that a disk had had to retry a couple of writes). So when the disk died completely, nothing much happened. The server kept serving, and all was well except for the red light on the front.

Saturday morning came, and a quick trip to PC World and 55 quid later, I had a replacement disk. Another hour for the RAID controller to re-sync the mirror (unattended, of course), and the red light went out.

Sometimes you ask yourself why you're spending money on redundant kit to cover for stuff that probably won't ever go wrong anyway. Well, that's why. Without RAID I'd have had a lot of farting about in my server room, instead of walking the dogs with the missus.

So if you're wondering whether to invest in failure protection, my advice is to spend the extra few quid and go for it - you know your dog will thank you one day.