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Hitachi implicated in Sidekick outage

News broke this morning of an outage for users of the Sidekick mobile smartphone,  in which T-Mobile warned users of the device not to power down their phones, or personal data would be irretrievably lost thanks to a server outage at Danger, a Microsoft subsidiary that supports the Sidekick.

Meanwhile, Engadget has blogged that the storage and backup infrastructure at Danger was to blame for the outage:

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. 

If confirmed, it would be the second high-profile outage Hitachi has been associated with in the last six months. An HDS SAN was also implicated when Barclay’s ATMs in the UK stopped working in June.

Regardless of the source of the failure, outages like this usually draw attention to the fundamental risk of cloud computing — the things that can happen when all of users’ data “eggs” are put in one service provider’s “basket.”

Requests for comment are in to Microsoft and HDS and have not yet been returned. Stay tuned.

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