There are so many entitities getting black eyes from this story that it's going to take awhile to get through it all; Microsoft Danger, T-Mobile, Cloud Computing in general...
The real loser, however, were the poor T-Mobile customers who use Sidekicks.
T-Mobile uses Danger's (a Microsoft subsidiary) cloud services to store all of its customer data for Sidekick users.
Something went terribly wrong over the past week. After a week of frustrating interuptions of service, T-Mobile and Microsoft Danger had to put out a joint statement warning customers of the following on Saturday:
Updated: 10/10/2009 12:35 PM PDT
T-MOBILE AND MICROSOFT/DANGER STATUS UPDATE ON SIDEKICK DATA DISRUPTION
Dear valued T-Mobile Sidekick customers:
T-Mobile and the Sidekick data services provider, Danger, a subsidiary of Microsoft, are reaching out to express our apologies regarding the recent Sidekick data service disruption.
We appreciate your patience as Microsoft/Danger continues to work on maintaining platform stability, and restoring all services for our Sidekick customers.
Regretably, based on Microsoft/Danger's latest recovery assessment of their systems, 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.
We recognize the magnitude of this inconvenience. 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.
We continue to advise customers to NOT reset their device by removing the battery or letting their battery drain completely, as any personal content that currently resides on your device will be lost.
Once again, T-Mobile and Microsoft/Danger regret any and all inconvenience this matter has caused.
Not so fast! Storing data on the cloud does not appear to be the problem. It's a much older problem; a problem perhaps as old as the microprocessor itself. They just didn't back-up their &^%%^ data.
According to multiple, multiple reports relying on inside sources at Microsoft and Danger, things went awry during a SAN (Storage Area Network) upgrade conducted by Hitachi (word is that it was reportedly outsourced to Hitachi because the Microsoft Danger employees who used to maintain it had all been laid off). Somewhere along the line, the upgrade happened. But, no one backed up all the data of T-Mobile's Sidekick clients before proceeding.
So, this appears less of an indictment on cloud computing than on Microsoft Danger's stupidity in not making sure they followed the most basic tenet of computing; back-up your data.
The irony, of course, is that's what cloud computing is all about anyway.
My condolences to Sidekick users. Lets see what kind of compensation T-Mobile offers you for your "inconvenience" in the days to come. I'll be watching for that one.