MySpace – an unfortunate disaster recovery failure

MySpace – an unfortunate disaster recovery failure.

This is a story that should never have been told.  P.T. Barnum once said, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity”.  While that adage may have some truth to it, the response to bad press is what can make it a true statement.  To date, I doubt that many believe that this “bad press”, a.k.a. “story” is anything but bad news for MySpace, it’s users, and the entire music industry.

Read on to learn our thoughts surrounding the technical and business lessons of this story, but more importantly, how your company can avoid this kind of press.

“As a result of a server migration project, any photos, videos and audio files you uploaded more than three years ago may no longer be available on or from Myspace,” the company said in a statement on its website. “We apologize for the inconvenience.”

Transparency

When our clients have an outage, such as a server which dies or data corruption, or name your worst-case scenario and insert it <here>, there must be transparency.  One of the ways we provide this is with constant communication.  We also provide a root cause analysis (RCA).  The explanation from MySpace thus far is vague, at best.

This is a huge loss for music lovers everywhere. We joke about MySpace today, but 20 years ago it was the most popular place to post music online, and the content was valuable to so many people. MySpace blames the data loss on a “failed server migration”.  At Fortified Data, we’ve seen failed server migrations, however our clients haven’t faced data loss.

Disaster Recovery Strategy

Today’s modern IT infrastructure allows for a staggering quantity of disaster recovery and high availability solutions.  So many in fact, that our challenge isn’t simply the risk of missing a solution to begin with, it’s choosing a plan that can provide the outcome we’re looking for and possessing the knowledge we need to build it, test it, and maintain it.

When we choose a disaster recovery strategy, we always start by defining the company’s need.  How long can their data be down?  How much can they lose?  Could MySpace be down for 8 years? 8 days? 8 seconds? Could they lose a thousand songs? A million? We design solutions to meet those requirements.  The question with MySpace, an organization that has lost so much of its value over the last 10 years (from 580 million users at its peak, to 35 million users in 2011), is how they didn’t have a rock-solid Disaster Recovery plan.

At Fortified Data, we get paid to be the experts in managing data.  In a “server migration” we always plan for a failure to occur.  If they aren’t planned for, and if your data footprint does not have a defined and tested RTO (Recovery Time Objective) and RPO (Recovery Point Objective), you are at risk for losing your data. 

Plan for a failure event

Test it on a semi-frequent basis.  The lack of testing impacts organizations more than not having a solution at all.  Thinking about a disaster recovery scenario and having a plan is not the same as testing the disaster recovery plan. At Fortified Data, we take clients down the path of availability, scalability and capabilities with their data platforms. Disaster recovery is a core component of your organization’s ability to achieve its mission.   Stay out of the headlines. Call us and let’s get to work