Microsoft loses Sidekick user’s personal data

The big news today is the data failure of Microsoft’s Danger subsidiary serving the T-Mobile Sidekick users.

Around a week ago Danger experienced a huge outage that left many T-Mobile Sidekick users without access to their calendar, address book, and other key data. That’s because the Sidekick keeps nearly all its data in the cloud as opposed to keeping the primary copy on the devices themselves.

T-Mobile Sidekick
T-Mobile Sidekick
Valued T-Mobile Sidekick customers received a notice today from the company updating them on the “data disruption” problem. The good news is that data is no longer being disrupted. The bad news is that there is no data left to be disrupted.

While outages in the cloud computing world are common (one need only look at recent issues with Twitter or Gmail), data losses are another story. And this one stands as one of the more stunning ones in recent memory.

The Danger outage comes just a month before Microsoft is expected to launch its operating system in the cloud–Windows Azure. That announcement is expected at November’s Professional Developer Conference. One of the characteristics of Azure is that programs written for it can be run only via Microsoft’s data centers and not on a company’s own servers.

It should be pointed out that the Azure setup is entirely different from what Danger uses: the Sidekick uses an architecture Microsoft inherited rather than built (Microsoft bought Danger last year). Still, the failure would seem to be enough to give any CIO pause.

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