Microsoft’s Sidekick cloud outage gets worse

October 11, 2009

Microsoft's Sidekick cloud outage gets worseMicrosoft’s cleverly named “software plus services” strategy would probably work better with users if their cloud computing centers would stop turning into smoke and mirrors.

A week or so ago, Microsoft’s Danger server farm, which holds the cloud (and usually the only) T-Mobile Sidekick subscriber’s data came crashing down out of the data cloud, depriving users of their calendar, address book, and other key data. That caused a ruckus all by itself, with users stuck without vital data during the outage. After all, cloud computing and storage is only really useful if companies like Microsoft can reliably store valuable data on their servers.

As if that outage were not bad enough, it now seems possible that at least some of the data which was unavailable may have been completely lost, according to a CNET story. That is truly a critical loss, since the Sidekick storage system in the cloud is intended to free up storage in the Sidekick, so much of the data for the T-Mobile phone exists only in the cloud on Microsoft servers; there is no local copy of the data on the handset. If that data has been lost, it is well and truly gone forever.

It cannot be said with certainly how many people lost all or part of their data in the incident. It is possible, though, that this could be the worst case yet of data loss in the cloud, as opposed to temporary outages. Certainly, the timing could not have been much worse for Microsoft. In about a month’s time, the Redmond software giant is due to roll out Windows Azure, the cloud computing operating system that is supposed to tie together all of the company’s cloud computing efforts.

The data and operating architecture for the Danger system, which lost the Sidekick data, is completely different from the Azure system that is due to be introduced next month. Still, both personal and business prospects for Microsoft’s cloud computing services will have been taken aback by the failure of the Danger system. A user must be able to trust the safety and reliability of a cloud computing system. This recent incident makes it more difficult to entrust your data to Microsoft.

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8 Responses to “Microsoft’s Sidekick cloud outage gets worse”

  1. DavidB:

    Much FUD about nothing. There is ZERO correlation between Danger’s inherently flawed architecture and Azure (or anyone else’s cloud service). To draw such a conclusion just because MS owns Danger is disingenuous.

  2. Glenn:

    @ DavidB: How so? Both will work off Microsoft server farms, therefore it’s safe to assume they’re very similar. If one experiences a problem it’s therefore also safe to assume that others, sooner or later, may also experience the same problem.

  3. Ben Werdmuller:

    I do think conclusions will be drawn, whether they’re disingenuous or not. (Azure will run on Microsoft’s server farms, so these are very pertinent questions to be asking.)

    I really don’t think the current cloud computing situation is sustainable. I’ve written up a proposal, which I’d be interested in comments on; even if this isn’t an acceptable solution, there will be others. Right now the numbers, technology and level of application functionality are acceptable for an interim transition state between an old and new model, but not really as a long-term situation.

  4. AshleyO:

    Being a sidekick user for years now, i can honestly say that i have NEVER had a problem with my sidekick until Microsoft just recently took over. I am confident in saying this is 100% Microsofts fault. Thanks Microsoft for losing my 300+ contacts, calendar events, notes, and also for leaving me without data service for about 2 weeks now.

  5. Anonymous:

    It was the company, Danger Inc., who was at fault. Microsoft just simply bought this company right before this outage. Microsoft is to blame in the sense that they made a poor decision in obtaining this company and they did not verify that Danger had a backup system in place before the acquired the company.

    As far as cloud computer and Windows Azure – it all has NOTHING at all to do with this outage. Too many of you use the word “cloud” without even knowing what it means. You just want to sound tech savvy and cool. I’m sorry, but it was Danger Inc who screwed up. Microsoft bought the company, but they did migrate them over to Microsoft servers at all. The entire system is run using a hodgepodge of Linux and FreeBSD. It was a problem with their Oracle Database that caused the problem.

    Please don’t ask me how I know this.. but I do… I worked there… or its better to say that I contracted there…. I saw all of this first hand.

    Microsoft should not have bought Danger.

  6. Anonymous:

    *correction:
    …but the did *NOT migrate them over to Microsoft servers at all.

  7. Anonymous:

    *correction:
    …but *THEY did not…

    I really should proof-read before posting…

  8. Home Business:

    Of course it would start to pour fifteen minutes before I have to walk home from work.

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