Microsoft sees no silver lining in Sidekick server snafu
Danger, danger! High voltage!
A major server outage at Microsoft's subsidiary firm Danger, which provides Sidekick data services to T-Mobile customers, has forced the company to admit that many of its users have lost personal information that was stored on the system.
T-Mobile published a miserable apology on Saturday, in which it said that Microsoft/Danger's most recent recovery assessment had been pretty dire.
"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," said T-Mobile.
The telecoms firm said Danger, which Microsoft bought in February 2008, hadn't called off the search team yet, but the likelihood of actually recovering any data now looks very slim.
T-Mobile said it would update customers later today about the cloud-based service cockup.
"We recognise the magnitude of this inconvenience," it said. "Our primary efforts have been focused on restoring our customers' personal content. We also are considering additional measures for those of you who have lost your content to help reinforce how valuable you are as a T-Mobile customer."
It didn't say what those measures might involve, or if customers can expect some form of compensation given the scale of disruption caused by the data loss, which happened about a week ago. T-Mobile had already offered some users a free month of service.
The Sidekick saga is extremely bad news for Microsoft. What makes it even more embarrassing for the vendor is that Redmond prides itself on not simply shoving everything into the cloud, instead punting its Software + Services strategy which means customers can store content online or on-site.
This technical snafu demonstrates the limitations even the likes of Microsoft, which inherited rather than overhauled the Danger tech, face when not putting redundancy in place to ensure that a simple server outage doesn't cripple an entire service in quite such spectacular fashion again. ®
Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!
This seems to be a funny name to give a company that's supposed to keep your data. At least this incident is much, much better than the MobileMe incident Apple had. Losing my backups might be ugly, but getting my data wiped during a sync would truly piss me off!!
This incident is going to hit MS, even if it wasn't because of MS stuff failing, which I wouldn't be surprised if it were the case. I've recently discovered that there is no real way to backup Active Directory or ADAM other than Microsoft Backup. No shit...
I wise colleague of mine once said...
... a DBA is only as good as his last backup.
Seems to work for more than DBAs.
I've been in upper IT management for a couple decades, in infrastructure/operations/database areas. My people and our outsourcers have had to perform datacenter moves, outsourcer swaps, major hardware and software upgrades. Never ever ever ever had anything close to this.
In all of these cases, while the event itself took only hours or a day or two, the planning/testing/risk management took months. We had to hold up the vendor swapout for three months until we were covinced everybody (us and the two vendors involved) had it right.
How much planning took place before THIS upgrade?
"It isnt Microsoft's fault"... bullshit
MS can't blame this on the people they might have contracted out to. Their customers have a right to expect that an outfit like MS is capable of ensuring that their subcontractors can do the job properly.
Nor can they blame this on legacy systems. MS have owned Danger for well over a year and that is enough time to improve any broken systems, at least to the extent of firing up a backup storage system.
MS's main issue here is that they want to distance this failure from their Azure offering. MS + "cloud failure" could severely dent confidence in Azure.
Oh well Mr Ballmer, while it might not be your fault it's still another screw-up on your ship!