Stuff we should emphasize: go ahead, try to lose our data

Microsoft Danger: Living Up To Its Name

(read the post below on Microsoft losing data when a cloud died/burst)

I often go on and (and on and on) about how the amount of data generated by SCADA systems is going to go up by orders of magnitude.  Perhaps more people should listen to me, because I keep seeing stories like the one attached. 

We, on the other hand, have the capability to transparently back up data as part of our fundamental architecture, and as if that weren’t enough, it’s fairly easy to just make copies of our datastores, especially if you’re on any kind of modern storage (e.g. SAN) that allows you to take parallel copies offline for backup and then re-sync them.

I’m going to point this out, that unless you do something really dumb, CygNet installations aren’t really subject to this sort of problem. Assuming you follow our recommendations, it’s actually pretty hard to lose data.



Posted by Dave Methvin, Oct 11, 2009 10:30 PM

Every computer user learns that it’s vital to back up important files. They usually learn this lesson the moment after they lose a bunch of important files that they haven’t backed up. That’s just silly users though. Most large enterprises not only back up files, but have disaster recovery plans that allow them to continue business if their primary data centers are taken out. The key word there is most.

One incredible exception to that plan-for-disaster rule seems to be Danger, the company that makes the Sidekick mobile device. Microsoft purchased Danger in February 2008 for $500 million. Whatever that half-billion dollars was used for, it doesn’t seem to have been used for backups. Last week saw an major outage due to extensive data loss. At this point, Danger and T-Mobile seem to think they have very little chance of recovering any data that isn’t located on a customer’s Sidekick. The data was in the cloud, and the cloud has burst.

Any $500 million acquisition usually comes with some technical due diligence. When Microsoft bought Danger, didn’t they have someone take a look at how the company ran their servers? During the more than 18 months since the acquisition, didn’t anyone review how Danger was operating? Given that they currently have a Java-heavy platform, it seems likely that Microsoft was in there looking at how they could showcase .NET for operations. During those discussion, you would think the question of data backup and redundancy would have come up.

Perhaps the folks at Danger were trying to give the world a subtle message with their name. Subtle isn’t good though. If only the company could have gotten the domain, more Sidekick users would have known what they were in for.


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