Almost a week ago, Google-owned platform Gitlab suffered a massive data loss that comprised six hours of data. Subsequent investigations revealed that the company had failed to back up their information properly.
Gitlab has become a very popular tool for starting developers. In hindsight, it offers them a set of free tools larger than those of other coding hubs. However, this event might lead some people to reconsider using it.
Initial reports made most news outlets suggest that Gitlab might have been the victim of a cyber attack. However, the platform came clean a few hours later, admitting that the problem lied within their production database.
How much data did Gitlab lose?
Approximately 300GB of data including merge requests, issue posts, users, snippets, and more became lost before they canceled the command. The data loss was the result of a directory deletion performed on the wrong server.
A tweet (later erased) from Gitlab’s official account stated they had accidentally deleted data from one of their production databases. According to various online reports, a distracted employee might have been responsible.
An updated post showed the company immediately took action to attempt and get the information back to the server. They tried five different backup techniques but to no avail.
After this attempt, they started to load a system backup from six hours earlier, meaning that all data lost in the process would remain that way. The company was extremely open about this matter.
It wasn’t hackers but an honest mistake
According to Gitlab’s report, they started to suffer from some spam-related incidents earlier that day. These events hindered the platform’s functioning, which in turn meant more people working to put the website back online.
One of their employees, who lives in the Netherlands according to online sources, was in the process of performing routine maintenance operations when he deleted the directory. His actions were merely the result of human error and probably lack of rest.
We will write/publish a DB post-mortem this week, more info can be found at https://t.co/C5LQH7XJQc
— GitLab.com Status (@gitlabstatus) February 1, 2017
Who was affected by Gitlab’s data loss?
The platform’s database became directly impaired as a result of this incident, so the only party affected by the data loss is the Gitlab system itself.
Thankfully, customers using the platform on premise did not and will not suffer any losses on data or any work that they have done. The only real party affected by this little conundrum might be Gitlab’s reputation.