ATO Website Crash: One Petabyte Of Data Lost

ATO Website Crash: One Petabyte Of Data Lost

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) website went down for two days due to a storage hardware failure. The hardware was provided by HP Enterprise (HPE) and the fault affected backup systems as well. The ATO is now trying to recover one petabyte of data.

Updated 14/12/16 2.13pm: Added most recent statement from ATO.

The ATO website and online services went down on Monday and was only restored on Tuesday night. The ATO worked closely with HPE to resolve the outage which was caused by a failure in the storage hardware provided by the enterprise vendor. The issue was compounded by the fact that it was “first time this problem has been encountered anywhere in the world”, according to a statement from the ATO.

Australians were unable to access ATO online services and staff at the government agency were unable to work due to the outage.

According to the Canberra Times, the HPE hardware was still quite new and was only installed 13 months ago. iTNews reported that the hardware in question were two HPE 3PAR storage units.

The ATO will be investigating why the primary back-up system failed to kick-in. The government agency told iTNews and Fairfax that it was trying to recover one petabyte of data.

However, the ATO has since released a new statement to clarify that data has not been lost:

“The petabyte of data referred to in media reports relates to storage capacity, which includes not only data but applications and systems as well. This figure does not relate to data impacted by the outages. While we experienced some data corruption, we are in the process of fully restoring this data from back-up. No data has been lost.”

“No taxpayer information has been compromised,” the ATO said in an earlier statement.

[iTNews/Canberra Times]


  • Ok, I’m SURE it’s been asked somewhere by someone… but if they’ve lost a PETABYTE of data and yet they’re suggesting that NO taxpayer data has been lost… then what the hell did that PETABYTE contain?!?! I mean this is the ATO we’re talking about… what are they storing other than taxpayer / company data?

    Only thing I can think of is that they lost all stored call recordings, database duplicates etc.

    • Haven’t read a full statement, but “compromised” and “lost” are different things. I believe what they’re saying is that no unauthorised parties have gained access to the data as a result of the failure, that’s all.

      • Yeah that’s the confusion… seen at least one news outlet saying no taxpayer data has been lost and others saying it’s not compromised… VERY different things.

        • The official wording from ATO is “No taxpayer information has been compromised”. That’s why I used that quote in the article.

          Hope this helps!


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