Feeds

Google blames bug for Gmail deletions

Offline backup used to restore nuked profiles

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Google has blamed problems with a storage software update for a glitch that deleted an estimated 40,000 Gmail accounts.

The snafu meant that affected users lost access to their archive of emails, contacts and IM chats. Initially Google said the glitch might have affected 0.29 per cent of its user base but this figure has steadily been revised downwards towards the latest figure, 0.02 per cent of the Gmail userbase, or 40,000 accounts. Updates to Google's App status dashboard late on Monday promise that the problem will be resolved with the restoration of deleted accounts for affected users within a matter of hours.

We have revised downward our estimate of the total number of users affected by this issue from 0.08 per cent to 0.02 per cent of Google Mail users. Access has been restored for one third of the affected users. The remaining 0.013 per cent of accounts are being restored on an ongoing basis, and we expect the issue to be resolved for everyone within 12 hours.

In a blog post, Ben Treynor, Google VP of engineering and site reliability, apologised for the cock-up and promised the prompt restoration of "deleted" accounts.

"The good news is that email was never lost and we've restored access for many of those affected," Treynor writes. "Though it may take longer than we originally expected, we're making good progress and things should be back to normal for everyone soon."

Google applies an architecture featuring data mirroring and redundancy but even so "software bugs can affect several copies of the data". The severity of the mix-up in this case means that some affected accounts will have to be restored from offline backup tapes, a time consuming process that means the exercise will take longer than Google first anticipated.

The online ad giant doesn't say this but the use of off offline backups means that its likely the most recent emails on affected accounts will be lost. It does say that emails sent to affected users between Sunday evening and Monday afternoon would have bounced.

Google has reverted to an older version of its storage software in order to safeguard against a repetition of the snafu, which has served to illustrate the point that cloud-based services are by no means immune from back-up and data loss problems. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Docker's app containers are coming to Windows Server, says Microsoft
MS chases app deployment speeds already enjoyed by Linux devs
'Hmm, why CAN'T I run a water pipe through that rack of media servers?'
Leaving Las Vegas for Armenia kludging and Dubai dune bashing
'Urika': Cray unveils new 1,500-core big data crunching monster
6TB of DRAM, 38TB of SSD flash and 120TB of disk storage
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
SDI wars: WTF is software defined infrastructure?
This time we play for ALL the marbles
Windows 10: Forget Cloudobile, put Security and Privacy First
But - dammit - It would be insane to say 'don't collect, because NSA'
Oracle hires former SAP exec for cloudy push
'We know Larry said cloud was gibberish, and insane, and idiotic, but...'
Symantec backs out of Backup Exec: Plans to can appliance in Jan
Will still provide support to existing customers
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.