I reported early on that the cause of the Sidekick disaster was a SAN upgrade that failed without proper back-ups in place. (see also: More Details On What Caused the Sidekick Disaster) Daniel Eran Dilger, who has chimed in several times on this situation, has confirmed this through another source as well. He has an excellent article detailing many of the factors involved in all of this mess. If you have the time, I recommend reading the article.
But for those that don’t have time, here’s a quick summary:
Why weren’t there backups?
- Confirmation from a source that the loss of data was caused by stopping a 6-day backup by order of Microsoft / Roz Ho against the recommendations of Danger engineers. Because the backup was started, they had to remove a backup from a couple months ago in order to make space available. So they were left with an incomplete backup, since it was only run for 2 of the 6 days necessary. The SAN upgrade proceeded and things apparently went wrong.
No big deal, Microsoft says they recoved “most if not all” of our data
- Daniel Eran Dilger is skeptical that this is actually the case. He believes that it is possibly just Microsoft in denial. He writes:
If the company has stumbled upon a novel recovery avenue or some unknown backup that somehow remained missing for nearly two weeks, then this is great news for Sidekick users and helps to wipe some of the egg from the company’s cloud computing services face, although the situation still remains as the worst datacenter failure to ever impact mobile users as well as one of the most absurd responses pertaining to lost data as well.
However, Microsoft is also well known for advertising bullshit it can’t deliver.
f Microsoft strings along users long enough, it will be able to pat itself on the back with a “mission accomplished” even if it ultimately never actually delivered anything. It’s like saying you’ll call somebody back after a date and then just waiting until they figure out that you’re not really interested. After two weeks, the party on the other end begins blaming itself for waiting around.
I’m paraphrasing here:
- If Microsoft can deliver even most of most users’ data, that’s awesome but doesn’t make up for the fact this happened in the first place.
- If Microsoft can’t deliver the data and this is just public relations BS to keep the negative press away until mainstream media forgets about the whole issue, and things fade into the background, then this is ridiculous.
Further, with this announcement, even if the company has no real data to recover, it will have erected a plausible story for denying anything significant ever happened. Know somebody who actually lost their important Sidekick data? You’ll be able to write them off as “one of the few who didn’t benefit from Microsoft’s miraculous data recovery.” It will be their word against Microsoft’s PR. Nobody will have records of who was impacted and whose data was recovered apart from Microsoft and probably T-Mobile, and the provider will likely have its records sealed by court order when it gets its big SLA settlement from Microsoft.
His closing paragraph makes it very clear that we need to keep this issue documented and not let Microsoft weasel their way out of another situation. I’ve opened up SKFail.com as a forum for this. Please head over there and leave posts detailing your experience, whether you lost data, if you’ve had it restored, etc.