During December 14 and 16, 2021, the supercomputer of Kyoto University lost 77TB of critical data. According to the information from the The Stack, Besides 14 research groups, about 34 million of files have been permanently deleted from the machine.
The higher education institution located in Kyoto, Japan, was created in 1897 and is a reference when it comes to research in the country, being recognized mainly for analyzes in the chemistry, materials sciences and immunotherapy sectors.
Malfunction erased data
Files were lost as a result of a malfunction in updating a script. Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), deleting all backup data that was on the supercomputer. Thus, researchers who dedicated days of work ended up losing their data collected in surveys.
In the update sent by HPE, the objective was to improve visibility and readability, erasing old log files, however, a failure occurred and erased all files from the backup.
through a Letter published by Kyoto University on December 29, 2021, Hewlett Packard took the blame for the incident saying:
“There was a lack of consideration in the release procedure for this modified script. We didn’t know about the side effects of this behavior and launched the script [atualizado], overwriting [um script bash] while it was still running.”
“This resulted in the modified shell script being reloaded in the middle of execution, resulting in undefined variables. As a result, the original log files in / LARGE0 [armazenamento de disco de backup] were deleted instead of the original process of deleting files saved in the log directory,” concluded HPE.
In the beginning, the University team envisioned an even bigger disaster, in which they projected the loss of 100TB of data. After fixing the flaw completely, to avoid problems like this or even bigger ones in the future, the University plans to resume the backup by the end of this month and will take preventive measures.
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