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Salesforce deleted four hours of its customers' data

Salesforce is now mostly up and available to its customers, the company says, after a mega outage of one of its major data centres took it down for a whole day.

The outage lasted from 13:31 UTC time Tuesday until 09:30 UTC Wednesday, or about 6:30 a.m. pacific Tuesday until 2:30 p.m. pacific on Wednesday.

A cloud outage that long is almost unheard of these days, and one Salesforce customer we talked to, who has been using Salesforce for over five years, told us he’s never experienced that kind of disruption from the company before.

While companies knew their salespeople couldn’t log onto the site to do their jobs, and funny internet memes followed, customers got another whammy.

Salesforce lost four hours of their transactions, it says.

The outage was caused by a problem with the database. So the folks at Salesforce restored the database back to the time before the problem occurred, four hours earlier, which deleted the previous data, Salesforce explained in a report on its Salesforce Trust page.

The service disruption was caused by a database failure on the NA14 instance, which introduced a file integrity issue in the NA14 database. The issue was resolved by restoring NA14 from a prior backup, which was not impacted by the file integrity issues. We have determined that data written to the NA14 instance between 9:53 UTC and 14:53 UTC on May 10, 2016 could not be restored.

This is almost a worst-case scenario. The only thing that could have made it worse was if Salesforce had to delete even more hours of data.

We also understand that many of Salesforce’s smaller customers do not have service-level agreements with the company. An SLA is a commitment for refunds if the service is unavailable for long periods of time. So they may not be entitled to refunds.

We asked the company if it plans to offer its customers any kind of make-it-all better consideration, but the company had no comment on that. A spokesperson merely told us, “Our Trust page (www.trust.salesforce.com) is where all the most recent information is available.”

In the meantime, Marc Benioff has been tweeting out replies to irritated customers promising to call them.

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