How Debbie (and Silicon Valley) Does Data Loss

June 01, 2015

How Debbie (and Silicon Valley) Does Data Loss

By Ian O'Brien

Deleting 9,000 hours of a business’ critical data was made very real in the recent episode of Silicon Valley on HBO. If you’re not familiar with Silicon Valley, it’s based on a tech startup, Pied Piper, going through Series A funding. The fictitious company developed a compression algorithm, ‘built on a universal compression engine that stacks on any file, data, video or image no matter what size.’ The show is a big hit in the tech community, and even inspired an actual company, Piper Pied, which presented at Disrupt NY Hackathon this past May.

Life, and work, at Pied Piper is frenzied. The quest for achieving their tech goals, securing funding, and getting clients is 24/7. As such, the characters all live and work together.

One of the storylines in this week’s episode (Season 2, Episode 8) hit close to home for businesses everywhere. Data loss. But it's the cause of the data loss may not be what you think. Remember what I said about a chaotic environment?

Pied Piper was thrilled to land a new client, Intersite. Intersite is a content-rich company, with massive amounts of ‘irreplaceable’ data. It committed to a $15 million contract with Pied Piper to reduce their server load. Oh yeah, Intersite is an adult entertainment company. But content is content, right? And as for most businesses, their content is their livelihood. Pied Piper’s technology is working great and ready to start their project compressing Intersite’s files. It’s going great.

Simultaneously, the team at Pied Piper was paranoid that a recent altercation with a competitor would result in him launching an all out attack on their site. Considering their new client was about to drop 100TB of video onto their server, this impending hack made them a little skittish. But their CTO confirmed, ‘No one is cracking our transfer.’

The file compression continues, and is working like a charm. All that porn is being compressed into smaller files. Suddenly, the files are being deleted. At a rapid pace. See, the compression worked too well; all the compressed files were being deleted at lightning speed. Neither the teams at Pied Piper or Intersite can access the system, they were locked out. Intersite’s CTO could be heard screaming, ‘I’m losing hundreds of hours of content… Make it stop!’

So what happened between the start of compression and time of deletion? Did the rogue launch his worm and invade Pied Piper’s system? Did a server crash? Nope. Blame it on Tequila, the delete button, and a not so smart investor.

When Pied Piper’s on-again, off-again investor, Russ Hanneman, drops by to show off his new wheels, he places his coveted bottle of Tequila on the delete button. This simple action erased all the porn files of their client, Intersite. Tequila is known for getting folks into trouble, but rarely does it erase 100 TB of data.

So tell me, is your data protected from the delete button?

Fortunately in the real world, businesses have Datto to rely on to protect their business data, wherever it lives. Learn how Datto saved a company from data disaster during The Night of the Dying Server.

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