In the News — Backups!

A piece of news that caught my eye and interest recently. A snippet from the official customer letter:

… Regrettably, based on Microsoft/Danger's latest recovery assessment of their systems, we must now inform you that personal information stored on your device – such as contacts, calendar entries, to-do lists or photos – that is no longer on your Sidekick almost certainly has been lost as a result of a server failure at Microsoft/Danger. That said, our teams continue to work around-the-clock in hopes of discovering some way to recover this information. However, the likelihood of a successful outcome is extremely low. …

Wow! The short story seems to be that Danger, a MS owned company that makes the Sidekick and stores all their user’s data, decided to upgrade their network storage system which somehow failed and they don’t have any backups losing all data stored in the process….

Blink, blink….

I had to read it a few times to make sure I heard it right. While I’m sure there are undisclosed details to the failure to basically summarize what went wrong:

They were working on a system that was essentially bought for $500 million (!) in February 2009
They didn’t make a backup before working on the system despite what seems to be a pretty significant procedure
They didn’t know their existing backups were unusable until it was too late

There have been similar stories in the past few years of large web sites or companies having a critical failure of some sort and not having the backups to restore things resulting in a huge set back or even the company going under. I’ll be writing about what I’ve learned through trial and error (mostly error) about backups from running the UESP in the future. Our backup strategy is far from perfect but apparently it’s miles better than companies orders of magnitude larger and stories like this make me feel a little better about losing a whole day of data from the UESP’s database hard drive failure in July.

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