Beta

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Data Disasters More Likely To Strike In Summer

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the sure-true-here dept.

Security 61

Barence writes "The turbulent summer weather leads to a surge in data loss incidents, according to industry experts. Kroll Ontrack claims that it traditionally deals with around 12% more data recovery requests in the summer months than it does in the spring, with the weather largely to blame. 'The stress on electrical devices increases if you elevate the temperature,' Ontrack engineer Robert Winter told PC Pro. 'If you have devices that are going to fail, the failure may be induced by the elevated temperature.' Winter claims failure rates tend to be higher among personal and small business users, rather than large companies, which tend to have air conditioning and humidity control. Laptops and disk drives being left in direct sunlight or in the back of cars is another common cause of failure, the Ontrack engineer added. Power surges caused by electrical storms and failure to cover adequately for holidaying IT staff are other contributory factors, Ontrack claims."

cancel ×

61 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Que sopssa trolling (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33217072)

Keep it in mind, moderators. Sopssa is a troll.

Re:Que sopssa trolling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33217564)

Que?

Re:Que sopssa trolling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33217650)

Pedant douchebag. I guess that the guy who normally states that that zit-faced nosepicker Soppsa is a troll spells it cue. My apologies.

Re:Que sopssa trolling (1)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 3 years ago | (#33217816)

No need to get all uptight. Que sera sera.

Vacation (5, Interesting)

Russ1642 (1087959) | more than 3 years ago | (#33217140)

When people take vacation they not only neglect regular maintenance but they leave behind some summer student to handle things.

Re:Vacation (1)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 3 years ago | (#33217462)

The first line of TFA is:

British summer leads to a surge in data loss incidents, according to industry experts

So apparently this means nothing to the other 99.6% or so of the world's population.

Re:Vacation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33217856)

British summer? For one thing, what about all that fog and rain? Is it really summer? But even then, doesn't half of the Earth (roughly or exactly depending on your tendency for accuracy) share the same summer, and the other half shares the other summer? ;) !

Re:Vacation (0, Troll)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 3 years ago | (#33218030)

It's the classic British ethnocentricity. Amazing they manage to keep that in spite of shrinking from an entire empire to a few teensy-weensy little islands. I love it when they come to U.S.-based sites and broadcast British news as if it matters to us. Or correct us on our English, that's a good one. They really mean it, too. It takes a special kind of culture, I reckon...

Re:Vacation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33221396)

Yeah, like USian guys/girls are so different in that respect...

Re:Vacation (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | more than 3 years ago | (#33221448)

Personally I don't care how you speak. You're all grown up now, a proper country, so you're allowed to have your own language. Just don't pretend that you're still talking English, YOU'RE NOT!

Re:Vacation (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 3 years ago | (#33219160)

But even then, doesn't half of the Earth (roughly or exactly depending on your tendency for accuracy) share the same summer, and the other half shares the other summer? ;) !

Their summer months occur at the same time, but it's not the same summer. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Vacation (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#33217924)

Which is why backup should be ones primary focus. For home computers backblaze does a really good job of taking the thinking out of the process. Automatic exclusion based backups are really the way to go for that precise reason. Sure you end up spending more in media and possibly transfer costs, but it's far less likely that you'll miss files that you need. Which also makes it less problematic when you have to take a week off and the only person available to handle things isn't the person that normally does the backups.

It's very easy to end up losing your backups because the person taking things over didn't understand the complexities involved with the system. Or know how to check to make sure things were going as planned.

Re:Vacation (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 3 years ago | (#33219344)

I'd augment Backblaze by having some form of backup on your LAN. It could be a directly attached HDD, a NAS, a tape drive, or something along those lines. This way, when something happens, it is a lot faster to fetch the 1-2TB on your system from an external HDD than it is to wait for the stuff to be re-downloaded via a cloud though a slow pipe.

Plus, there is always the fact that nothing is 100%. One never knows if the backup cloud provider may go down, so storing all one's eggs in that basket may not be a good idea.

Summer - Winter (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33217206)

A guy named Winter tries to pin the blame for data disasters on Summer.

News at 11!

Re:Summer - Winter (4, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#33217472)

A guy named Winter tries to pin the blame for data disasters on Summer.

Summer Glau? She's pretty hot, but I didn't think that would cause problems with, er, hardware.

Re:Summer - Winter (1)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 3 years ago | (#33217588)

You do know she's a Terminator.. right?

Re:Summer - Winter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33218076)

What's your point?

Re:Summer - Winter (1)

cantcomplain (1604473) | more than 3 years ago | (#33218330)

Know? Yes. Care? No. (And OBTW, you do know that's a TV show...right?)

Re:Summer - Winter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33217790)

You've never seen an army of nerds creating a short by drooling all over the floor?

Re:Summer - Winter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33222768)

You've never seen an army of nerds creating a short by drooling all over the floor?

pics or it didnt happen

Re:Summer - Winter (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 3 years ago | (#33218732)

Sure, she would as Cameron Phillips, a Terminator infiltration unit. She could destroy many things like hardware. ;)

Re:Summer - Winter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33219904)

Summer Glau? She's pretty hot, but I didn't think that would cause problems with, er, hardware.

"This hard drive is problematic..."

Re:Summer - Winter (1)

Councilor Hart (673770) | more than 3 years ago | (#33220614)

No, but the software might trigger a memory leak, prematurely.

Re:Summer - Winter (4, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#33218282)

Not to worry. Ultimately Winter took the fall.

Re:Summer - Winter (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 3 years ago | (#33218734)

But they'll spring him soon.

Re:Summer - Winter (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#33219842)

How long have you been waiting to spring that one?

Re:Summer - Winter (1)

Lord Byron II (671689) | more than 3 years ago | (#33222000)

I read that summary so many times thinking that they meant Winter the season, not the person. Only after I RTFA did it finally click.

Note to editors: in these such cases, please use a title to emphasize the fact its a person and not something else. For example, "Mr. Winters".

Really? (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 3 years ago | (#33217232)

Things sensitive to heat more likely to fail during the warmer part of the year? Whodathunkit!

But I guess that the REAL question is - How do these numbers correlate to increased incidents of broken limbs during the winter months?
Could it be that by breaking your computer you are appeasing the Gods of Breaking and so your arms and legs remain whole, and vice versa?

I think that there surely is room for further research here and that we should immediately start to break some arms and legs.
Starting with persons responsible for TFA.

Re:Really? (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 3 years ago | (#33224550)

Things sensitive to heat more likely to fail during the warmer part of the year?

Not for the reasons you think.

MBA: Drone, turn off this heating system, it's summer now.
Sysadmin: The heating system is also the cooling system, it's keeping the servers cool.
MBA: Turn it off anyway, this is costing us hundreds of dollars.
Some weeks later.
MBA: Why did the server fail, it cost us thousands of dollars.
Sysadmin: Because dickless told us to turn off the cooling system.

Re:Really? (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 3 years ago | (#33226254)

That still falls under my original definition.

Also, even TFS explains that THAT is not really the case:

Winter claims failure rates tend to be higher among personal and small business users, rather than large companies, which tend to have air conditioning and humidity control.
Laptops and disk drives being left in direct sunlight or in the back of cars is another common cause of failure, the Ontrack engineer added.

BTW, both persons in your story deserve to be on the "there's the door" short-list.
Both are obviously high and mighty knowitalls with zero communication skills and no comprehension of the work-flow OR the chain of command in the company.
Also, their abilities to cause problems through conscious uninformed action in one and conscious informed inaction in other case are perfectly matched.
And lets not even start taking their egos in the equation.
In a more humorous world they would end up together on a reality show somewhere.

Although, if there is going to be an official inquiry - sysadmin is the one who will most certainly get the boot.
He KNEW that what he was doing was wrong and he did it anyway. He'd be lucky if it only cost him his job. [slashdot.org]

Summer Vacation? (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 3 years ago | (#33217256)

I have absolutely no evidence for this suggestion, but might there also be a connection to high school students with too much time on their hands?

Re:Summer Vacation? (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#33217890)

How many high school students have the cash to call a recovery company if their hard disk fails?

Re:Summer Vacation? (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 3 years ago | (#33221906)

It said "data disasters", not specifically hard drive failures. I was thinking of the kid who gets root on someone else's machine and runs 'rm -rf /', or whatever the equivalent on Windows is.

Woe the Sun! (1)

cygnwolf (601176) | more than 3 years ago | (#33217278)

"Laptops and disk drives being left in direct sunlight or in the back of cars is another common cause of failure" Pretty sure that's one of those things all the paper work that comes with electronics tells you not to do. At least I think so, I haven't really bothered to read through most of that stuff in the last few years...

Order this book for your ops guy (1)

tcopeland (32225) | more than 3 years ago | (#33217306)

Speaking of avoiding downtime, the recently published Web Operations [amazon.com] is excellent. Lots of good anecdotes, advice, and procedures to make things better (RCA, 5 whys, etc). I've been doing devops stuff for a while and have picked up a lot from this book.

Astroturfing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33217466)

I wouldn't trust a guy called Winter to tell me which season is better...

Salashvertisement (5, Informative)

hviniciusg (1481907) | more than 3 years ago | (#33217532)

Nothing to see here, just some slashvertisement of a recovery company

Kinda sorta (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 3 years ago | (#33218234)

Maybe it's a slashvertisement, but if you're going after that elusive extra '9' of uptime it's certainly food for thought.

Luckly, it's now winter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33217782)

Since right now it is winter, there is not much to worry about for a few more months.

People more likely to freeze during winter (1)

nikomo (1338131) | more than 3 years ago | (#33217822)

News news, electronics don't like heat, news at eleven. Just another slashvertisement.

Obviously... (1)

demonbug (309515) | more than 3 years ago | (#33217852)

We need mirrored datacenters, one in the northern hemisphere and one in the southern. That way we've always got one that isn't in summer.

-or-

My data center is on the equator, you insensitive clod!

In an article involving seasons... (1)

sradee (22508) | more than 3 years ago | (#33217968)

they had to quote a guy named Winter? Really??

Small business' attitude (5, Insightful)

swb (14022) | more than 3 years ago | (#33218094)

"This stupid computer shit is a waste of time. Put in that closet with the water and no air conditioning."

(Equipment fails)

"What the fuck do you mean you can't be out here by noon to fix this shit? This is critical to my business, if its not fixed by noon I am out of business."

Is there a disconnect?

Re:Small business' attitude (1)

Verunks (1000826) | more than 3 years ago | (#33218552)

"This stupid computer shit is a waste of time. Put in that closet with the water and no air conditioning."

(Equipment fails)

"What the fuck do you mean you can't be out here by noon to fix this shit? This is critical to my business, if its not fixed by noon I am out of business."

Is there a disconnect?

can't agree more, I always find myself going into server rooms that are actually a restroom or dwarves holes under some staircase, and of course nobody cleaned up this places nor the computers in the last century, so it's a bit like being Indiana Jones

Re:Small business' attitude (1)

swb (14022) | more than 3 years ago | (#33223362)

Indiana Jones? It's usually like being motherfucking Fred Sanford.

Article is from the UK (1)

idiotnot (302133) | more than 3 years ago | (#33218176)

....where they don't have hurricanes.

My summer IT disaster story? Imagine a large office building. Now imagine A/C units fed by a central chiller pipe. Now imagine 20 floors' worth of chiller water coming out on the floor above yours. Then imagine water cascading down the windows, and across the drop ceiling.....

This was me in July 2005. One of the few times I didn't get dirty looks for wearing shorts and tevas in the office.

Re:Article is from the UK (1)

Zerth (26112) | more than 3 years ago | (#33218386)

In my case, it is all those AC units stressing the grid. Or lightning strikes from 5 minute storms.

Just this month we've had 3 strikes and 2 power outages(one that only affected us for 9 hours, but rural areas were out for days). Pull lightning-struck equipment, then *bzzt* sag/surge/sag/black not 10 minutes later.

Re:Article is from the UK (1)

idiotnot (302133) | more than 3 years ago | (#33218488)

Yeah, this was all at a radio station, so the important stuff was on conditioned power. Still doesn't like getting wet. :-) Luckily, most of the broadcast equipment stayed dry. The sales floor, where nothing was on UPS power, well....

Let's just say that it was really a good thing that a local equipment company we did lots of work through happened to have ten PCs in stock.

On a similar note, when the power company would near peake capacity, we'd have to go to generator on a couple of our transmitters (one 100 kW, one 50 kW). I'd assume the power company had similar deals with lots of other big-time consumers (hospitals, data centers, etc.).

70% rule (1)

jvillain (546827) | more than 3 years ago | (#33218378)

On a related note. 70% of statistics are made up.

Common sense? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33218632)

Don't forget school is out so you get bored students who end up causing mischief.

However, the key is common sense, and this is not so common these days. How many people who have 1-2 machines bother to attach an external drive and use the backup program provided with the OS? Very few. Same with installing Mozy or Carbonite as last resort. For an average user, this would take 2 minutes to set up with Time Machine, maybe a little bit more with whatever Windows utilities are in use. For most Windows users who have a 250GB or so HDD, a 1TB external laptop drive + Retrospect configured to groom older backups would work for them almost indefinitely. Combine this with Mozy, and this would completely cover most of their needs.

Another simple thing which is pure common sense is OS restore media. One reason I always install a machine from scratch is that I then am sure in the future that this can be done later on. I never depend on using the original install provided with a machine. This philosophy applies from a netbook I am setting up for a friend to the big servers. It doesn't take much thought to have some type of container like a shoebox or plastic tub that all the computer stuff goes into and put away under the bed or somewhere that is can be recovered should something happened.

Lack of basic preparedness is an article I end up irritated about. Computers fail, just like (obligatory car analogy) cars need new tires, brake shoes, and batteries. Cars break down. Computers are the same way, from a mobile device to a mainframe.

When I get approached by people (friends, friends of friends) who have computer problems, it is almost the same type of stuff that is the problem:

1: Machine won't boot. Usually won't even get into safe mode.
2: They have no boot media. This happens due to computer makers cheaping out [1] and not including media, or people mindlessly discarding it.
3: No such thing as backups whatsoever. When I ask if the machine has been backed up recently, the reply is that if it is moved back any more, it will fall off the desk.
4: They pulled off the Windows COA sticker, or the sticker got rendered illegible by some method. This means no ability to install from OEM media.

So comes to trying to recover the machine by bringing an external drive and recovery software. I usually am able to scrape some of their stuff off, but sometimes it is a lost cause, especially with newer infections which actually install a low level driver to encrypt parts of the disk to make safe mode booting impossible.

The it is time to give the user the choice of death (TM): Buy XP media on eBay and hope they won't get scammed. Buy Windows 7 media from mail-order or a brick and mortar store. Buy a new machine (another PC with preinstalled Windows, or a Mac). Or go Linux.

Here is what I wonder about: Old school UNIX sysadmins had the fact that backups were critical drilled in their heads. You also had to have a mandatory backup rotation cycle with tapes going offsite to Iron Mountain for the machines, or you were an operator, rather than a sysadmin. Old school sysadmins never bothered with trying to recover rm-ed files. They went and mounted the tape for a restore, or they pointed the user to the .snapshot/hourly.0 directory in $HOME. Making sure you had a level 0 backup weekly (usually Friday morning because Friday evening and the weekend was when the nutty crap happened) was as part of the job as eyeballing disk space and other tasks. Whatever happened to basic computer hygiene? Backup programs are insanely easy, especially with the concept of a synthetic full, so people don't have to worry about full/incremental/differential rotations. Why don't more people do basic backups?

[1]: For the love of Bog, can't consumer level PC makers just toss in a drivers CD, Windows boot CD, an application CD, and a means to rebuild the recovery partitions? Tack on $25 to the cost of the PC if need be. Maybe as a compromise, get with motherboard makers and build an OS image into Flash ROM that can't be written to (so it can't be infected.) This way the machines can ship without media, but yet still be recoverable somehow. At least this is one of the things Dell does right.

Re:Common sense? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33218946)

This gives me an idea. Maybe someone can make an appliance similar to a Time Capsule but offering some more features and have this device be aimed at home users. Something along the lines of:

1: Built in PXE booting to allow Macs, Linux Machines, or Windows remotely access boot images.
2: Ability to store images of software. This way, the user can use an onboard DVD drive and copy all the critical operating system images to the machine, and the box would have them mountable via a read-only SMB share.
3: Function as a poor man's CD autochanger, where the above mentioned DVD images can be mounted (read-only) by plugging the appliance into a USB port to the machine.
4: Image dump. Plug camera in, push "copy", and the machine just copies any non-duplicate files to itself.
5: Remediation server. Perhaps have some A/V install or a scanning utility that is transparently updated in the background that can scan machines both via the Web (and an installed plug-in), or by an image via PXE boot.
6: Backup server. Think a Time Capsule, except that it copies the saved data to a cloud server (optionally encrypted of course with a passphrase and/or keyfile.) This way, even if the device gets rendered inoperable, the data is still present.
7: Rendering server. Put some decent GPUs in, and this could render video on it, then stream it back to the machines on the LAN (perhaps via a dedicated 10 gigabit connection or HDMI), so not every box would have to have a high-end video card to run the latest Crysis sequel.

Re:Common sense? (3, Informative)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 3 years ago | (#33220252)

There is already something similar, and free to boot. It is called Time Machine [comodo.com] by Comodo and is what I give my more clueless customers. Just add a weekly Windows 7 image backup to an external HDD and all is cookies and cream, and it really makes my job easier. My GF lives 2 and a half hours away (had to move closer to her dad after his heart attack) and fixing her PC last time she had a serious fuck up took less than 10 minutes by phone with Time Machine. Really sweet.

Applies to Data Centers, Too (2, Informative)

miller60 (554835) | more than 3 years ago | (#33218664)

This seems to hold true for data centers as well. There were a flurry of data center power outages [slashdot.org] in the first week of July 2009. In June 2010 there were major outages at Intuit [datacenterknowledge.com] and Amazon Web Services [datacenterknowledge.com] .

Fake Trend ALERT (1)

ATrask (1876362) | more than 3 years ago | (#33218802)

Industry experts from one company all notice that they have more problems in during summertime! Their ideas are corroborated by the idea that hot stuff breaks easier! Barry Collins (the author) should watch out, or his literary works will end up on this website: http://www.slate.com/id/2260970 [slate.com]

lots of big outfits have equipment in the field (1)

swschrad (312009) | more than 3 years ago | (#33219080)

my telco, for one, has hundreds of thousands of pieces of equipment in enclosures in the great outdoors... and that's just the individually addressed stuff.

whoa, baby, do we replace equipment when the seasons change. much of the territory can swing from 40 below and worse to 160 degrees and worse inside those cabinets. Fahrenheit. the "field ready equipment" is spec'ed to 140 degrees in many cases.

IMPHO, field ready should mean using mil-grade parts good from -60 to +180. adds 25% to the cost. we'd save it on truck rolls alone in the first year.

My opinion... (1)

Mud_Monster (715829) | more than 3 years ago | (#33219136)

...is that script kiddies aren't in school during the summer.

Old news (1)

gweihir (88907) | more than 3 years ago | (#33219830)

This is known to anybody that has at leas some awareness of what is going on with computers. The difference is large enough to be reliably observable with a small sample. i.e. the computers of your friends.

Not news, but wasted bandwidth.

This is why my data center moves server locations (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33222356)

This is why my data center moves server locations twice a year, Feb - October - Texas then they move by ship to Brazil mid-October.
We have never had any data disaster. Though they charge 15x more than most places but it's so worth it.

Summer sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33224736)

Yeah, I hate summer. Gotta unplug the computer most afternoons until the afternoon thunderstorms blow by. From October to the end of March, no thunderstorms, 100% uptime.

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?
or Connect with...

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>