Practical Technology

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Sidekick: Microsoft’s biggest failure yet?


You can’t make stuff this bad up. Many T-Mobile Sidekick smartphone users lost all their contacts, calendar entries, photographs, you name it, when Sidekick’s back-end software provider Microsoft, Danger, went down.

Danger turned out to be an all too apt name. Sidekick users use the Danger servers to synchronize their smartphone’s content with a cloud-based storage service. When the servers went down, during it seems, an upgrade of Danger’s SAN (storage area network), all the online user information disappeared with it. You see, while neither Microsoft nor T-Mobile is saying exactly what happened, it appears that Danger didn’t back-up its servers before launching into a major, and failed, SAN upgrade.

I don’t know about you, but any where I’ve ever worked, not running a backup before any major upgrade is a firing offense. And, not just any firing, this is a “don’t let your feet touch the floor as the security cops run you out of the building” crime.

This isn’t just a tech problem though. This is an organizational problem. This is a case where firing them all, from the top down, and letting unemployment sort them out is appropriate. There is simply no way on Earth that Microsoft should have tried this ‘upgrade’ without knowing that a backup was set, checked, and ready-to-go.

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