Reg comments17

HPE's Australian tax failures may have been user error

3Par account managers have soothing tales of extremely dumb mistakes

Users of HPE's 3Par kit say the company's private explanation of the twin outages at the Australian Taxation Office suggest the hardware problems may have been caused by user error.

One 3Par user, who requested anonymity, told The Register his HPE account manager told a story of serious physical damage to the array.

A second source tells us the array was moved while in production. We understand a disk drawer and cabling was damaged as a result.

Another HPE customer has also told The Register that their account manager spoke of an event that took out a whole disk drawer as the initial cause of the event.

At this point, keen-minded Reg readers are probably wondering why the array went down so hard given that well-implemented RAID and other data protection tools should survive even such an event.

The answer comes from a third reader, who tells us that restores failed because the volume manager and file system used by the ATO's backup software relied on the same array that stored the organisation's operational data.

The entire backup environment therefore needed a rebuild before it the organisation could start to recover data.

It remains unclear who made the architectural decisions, or caused the alleged physical disruption of the array. If the culprits for the latter decision were ATO staff, HPE will be off the hook for outages as it is not reasonably to expect an array will cope well with that kind of event. But if HPE, the provider of the ATO's backup software, or consultants, were responsible for any of the decisions we've been told about, they're in for a torrid time.

The Register has filed a freedom of information request with the ATO, seeking documents explaining the nature of the outages. The ATO has indicated the request may not be favourably considered, as its resources are currently occupied assisting with the compilation of a report into the incident due by the end of March 2017. ®

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