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By | Simon Sharwood 13th May 2016 00:00

Salesforce.com crash caused DATA LOSS

Three-and-half-hours of data has evaporated. Maybe forever

Salesforce.com's protracted outage earlier this week caused data loss.

An update on the company's status page dated May 12, 2016 20:00 UTC says data “written to the NA14 instance between 9:53 UTC and 13:29 UTC on May 10, 2016 can not be restored.”

There's a tiny ray of sunshine in that announcement, because previous updates said data written between 9:53 UTC and 14:53 UTC had evaporated. Lucky you, N14 users: you just got 84 minutes of data back. Now to find the other 216 minutes' worth.

The N14 instance that caused the problem is still a mess: Salesforce says it “continues to operate in a degraded state” with functions including weekly exports and sandbox copy functionality suspended temporarily.

Salesforce says it is still trying to figure out exactly what went wrong. For now, it says “a database failure on the NA14 instance, which introduced a file integrity issue in the NA14 database” was the culprit. There was a backup but it looks like that was incomplete.

Whatever the cause of the problem, it appears clear that Salesforce's recovery point objectives may need to be reviewed.

The company's Master Subscription Agreement (PDF) pledges, at Section 3.1, to “use commercially reasonable efforts to make the online Services available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week” unless acts of God, government action, natural disasters, ISP SNAFUs, civil unrest or DDOS attacks intervene.

At Section 3.2 the document promises “We will maintain administrative, physical, and technical safeguards for protection of the security, confidentiality and integrity of Your Data”.

The Register suspects folks with sharper legal minds than ours are currently poring over the fine print of that document, and Salesforce's other contracts, to figure out what users should do next if their data proves utterly irretrievable. ®

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