Some Sidekick Users May Recover Data

After initially warning Sidekick users that there was an “extremely low” chance that their personal data could be recovered, T-Mobile has changed its tune and now reports that Microsoft has made progress in its efforts to restore data from backups. “Recent efforts indicate the prospects of recovering some lost content may now be possible,” T-Mobile said late Monday on its Sidekick forum. Reports are emerging that some users have actually had their data restored

Microsoft said yesterday that there was no truth to rumors that the company had no backups for the Sidekick data stored at its Danger subsidiary. “There was back up for the data.” Microsoft said in a statement. “However, the initial server failure impacted both the main and backup databases, so the data recovery process has been incredibly complex.”

Microsoft’s press statement did not provide details about how both the primary and backup databases could be affected by the same event – a possibility most backup systems are designed to avert. But Microsoft confirmed that the Sidekick data was housed at Danger, a software company Microsoft bought in 2008, rather than any of Microsoft’s enormous cloud computing centers.

“The Sidekick runs on Danger’s proprietary service that Microsoft inherited when it acquired Danger in 2008,” Microsoft said. “The Danger service is built on a mix of Danger created technologies and 3rd party technologies. Microsoft’s other cloud computing projects are totally separate from the Danger Service and do not rely on the Danger Service technology.” 

Here’s a key question: If there was still hope that Microsoft could recover the data from backup, why would T-Mobile tell users that their data was probably lost? It remains to be seen. For now, the recovery effort continues.

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About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.

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  1. Nathan

    Sounding more and more like the rumors of a SAN upgrade failure are true. Building a system relied upon by thousands of users in without redundancy is poor architecture at minimum. As for T-Mobile, It sounds like they were relaying what they were told, and when this failure got linked to Microsoft and their future revenue stream, well my guess is words were quickly exchanged, and resources were quickly freed.

  2. From a PR perspective, it's much easier to say "Your data is probably lost" and be wrong than to build up hope and say "We might be able to get your data back" only to have to disappoint customers again if it's doesn't happen.