Almost every day it seems I encounter someone or some business bashing backup to tape, so it’s good to see that a 10,000 pound gorilla, Google, still uses it.
On February 27th, 2011, “0.02%” of Gmail users logged on to see an empty inbox. It turns out that Google released a software update, presumably to a “small” group to test the change. That update contained a software bug that not only lost users’ email, but lost multiple copies of them in multiple data centers. Google replicates user data between data centers for data protection, but in this rare case the software bug also affected those on-line copies of email.
Luckily, Google also does an backup to tape, and since those tapes are not on-line they are safe from this kind of software bug.
When I first heard about this in the news, I felt it was spun like “how dare Google lose email.” I think that’s quite unfair, it only affected a small portion of their user base, and ultimately they were able to restore the data, all for a free service. Yes some folks didn’t have access to saved emails for a couple of days, but they were all restored.
Could your business do the same? I’m impressed.