EnergyAustralia backup disaster stuns Gartner

Summary:EnergyAustralia's recent backup catastrophe was beyond belief and should never have happened, according to a Gartner analyst. In January ZDNet Australia exclusively reported that EnergyAustralia was scrambling to restore critical data lost as a result of backup failures that went undetected for several months.

EnergyAustralia's recent backup catastrophe was beyond belief and should never have happened, according to a Gartner analyst.

In January ZDNet Australia exclusively reported that EnergyAustralia was scrambling to restore critical data lost as a result of backup failures that went undetected for several months. The fault was detected last December when a server problem caused data loss at a number of EnergyAustralia offices, including the company's Sydney HQ.

Gartner managing vice president of its global storage team, Phil Sargeant, this week said he found the backup catastrophe "astronomical", and had certainly not heard of the same problems occurring at other organisations.

"I have heard of [businesses] not being able to read media and therefore can't recover data. Someone must have really taken their eye off the ball," he told ZDNet Australia in an interview.

Sargeant said that sophisticated reporting mechanisms available today could indicate whether a backup had been successful or not. Someone was certainly at fault for not checking those indicators, he surmised.

Both EnergyAustralia and its contractor Fujitsu -- who is helping with the restoration attempt -- have refused to comment on their roles in the incident or who was responsible for the backup procedure.

Sargeant believed that legal implications arising from the disaster would be defined in any contract that EnergyAustralia had with its service delivery partner/s.

He said there would be a number of service level agreements (SLAs) in EnergyAustralia's supplier contracts, giving the energy specialist a level of guarantee. Sargeant also said that there would be some penalty indicated if SLAs were not met.

An EnergyAustralia spokesperson said at the time the catastrophe was made public that legal action against Fujitsu was not being considered. The utility has made no further comment on the matter.

When asked recently about its restoration attempt, an EnergyAustralia spokesperson said: "We revised our restoration timetable and work is still progressing. For this reason we have nothing more to add to our previous comments." The restoration attempt was originally to have finished in January.

Topics: Storage, Data Management, IT Priorities

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