Monday 29 October 2012

Stormy Cloud: Vendor Deleted Mailboxes by Mistake and Could NOT Recover Them!

A vendor that shall remain nameless, not OWN/ExchangeDefender, that hosts a domain e-mail setup for a client that we are deploying Windows Server 2012 Essentials, Exchange 2013 Standard, RDS, and an LoB server for had an “internal miscommunication” and deleted the client’s entire e-mail setup on their own systems.

We started getting calls Saturday afternoon with our team walking up and down our steps and communications with the Cloud Vendor to make sure we were in the right.

It turns out that an update was posted to the service ticket:


Other than the spelling error for “waive” in the last sentence this particular vendor has really messed up.

How is it that they are unable to recover any mailboxes that they host? In this case they are POP3/SMTP/IMAP that is probably on some sort of Linux operation.

About 50% of the client’s users were only using the Webmail interface for their e-mail with little to no device interaction either. So, these folks are at a complete loss.

The Outlook POP3 based users are not so bad off.

Wow, what a way to start a Monday morning for many of the client’s users.

Philip Elder
Microsoft Small Business Specialists
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

Windows Live Writer


Karl W. Palachuk said...

Just goes to show you how important it is that we use well-established cloud providers with good, documented processes.

The good news is: Your week will only get better.

Philip Elder Cluster MVP said...


Even with all of the i's dotted and t's crossed there will always be a risk with Cloud Vendors.

Google and the 150K mailbox fiasco a year or so ago is one good example. Their reporting on the issue dropped off with no conclusion.

Folks that were left hanging can do what exactly? Nothing. Nada. Zippo. Zilch.

They are left with no recourse and being a gnat on the Rhino's butt means no response should be expected.

We here are of the opinion that nothing replaces a good in-house solution.

Or, in the case of a hybrid setup nothing replaces a good backup of everything in the Cloud.

Mat Honan's Hack Story is a good example of the need for a good in-house backup.

I'm a cynic. And will remain so for at least 3-5 years when it comes to Cloud. It's like a V1. Wait until R3 comes out before adopting, and then wait until V2R3 comes out before organization wide.

Thanks for the comment,


Manuel Palachuk said...

Messed up on any level. But I must say it is most funny that you Phil, or whoever released this info to you for publication, made it a point to preempt the big story details with a qualifying statement that it was NOT Exchange Defender. I guess that was necessary? :)

Philip Elder Cluster MVP said...


We have been a big proponent of xD/OWN hosted services over the year. So, yes out of respect for the business relationship we have with OWN we qualified that statement.


OWN ExchangeDefender Outage – Begs The Question: Where Is the Redundancy?

They are certainly not immune to failures and outages either. Neither is O365 (major UK outage last week).

That's one of the drawbacks with Cloud. Sure, on-premises can crash but that impacts one client. If/When that happens they get personal service from us or any other IT Solutions provider.

If, however, a Cloud vendor the size of Google or Microsoft has an outage thousands if not hundreds of thousands are impacted and who do they get for support? Maybe a tier 1 call jockey?

We work with a great compliment of Cloud Vendors gents and have experienced the gamut for hiccups, breaks, failures, and all-out data deletions.

This is one area that brings about the cynicism. On-Premises is reliable. When properly managed, with backups that are bare metal/hypervisor tested, reliability and recoverability are second to none. Properly in this case means "competent". :)

There's no qualifier for incompetence whether in this case where the Cloud Vendor killed a customer's mailboxes or the IT Solutions provider duck taped a "solution" together and the customer has been living in pain since.


Philip Elder Cluster MVP said...

I'd seen list threads on OWN's issues in Australia but did not realize just how grave the situation was.

Indeed, they are not immune ... eh Vlad?