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Sidekick failure rumors point fingers at outsourcing, lack of backups

Chris Ziegler
10.11.09
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Backing up your personal PC to external media might still be a novel concept for some, but any IT manager fresh out of school can tell you that regularly backing up mission-critical servers -- and storing those backups in multiple physical locations -- isn't merely important, it's practically non-negotiable, and it only becomes that much more critical before undertaking hardware maintenance. Alleged details on the events leading up to Danger's doomsday scenario are starting to come out of the woodwork, and it all paints a truly embarrassing picture: Microsoft, possibly trying to compensate for lost and / or laid-off Danger employees, outsources an upgrade of its Sidekick SAN to Hitachi, which -- for reasons unknown -- fails to make a backup before starting. Long story short, the upgrade runs into complications, data is lost, and without a backup to revert to, untold thousands of Sidekick users get shafted in an epic way rarely seen in an age of well-defined, well-understood IT strategies.

The coming weeks are going to be trying times for both Microsoft and T-Mobile, a sideline player in this carnage that ultimately still shoulders responsibility for taking users' cash month after month and keeping tabs on the robustness of its partners' workflows. We're betting that heads are going to roll at both of these companies, formal investigations are going to be waged, users are going to be compensated in big ways, lawsuits are going to be filed, and textbooks could very well be modified to make sure that lessons are learned for the next generation of college grads tasked with keeping clouds running. Why there weren't any backups -- even older ones -- that could've been used as a restore point is totally unclear, so we're hoping Microsoft has the stones to come clean for the benefit of an entire industry that wants to understand how to make sure this never happens again.

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