Poor disaster recovery practices nearly destroyed ‘Toy Story 2’

Poor disaster recovery practices nearly destroyed ‘Toy Story 2’

May 23

“Toy Story 2” is one of the most successful animated films ever created. With a production budget of $90 million, the film went on to gross nearly half a billion dollars worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo. On the review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes, “Toy Story 2” has a virtually unprecedented perfect score of 100 percent, with 150 positive reviews and not a single negative review.

However, as Storagecraft recently reported, two of the movies’ creators have released a short film explaining how “Toy Story 2” was nearly destroyed, thanks to poor disaster recovery practices.

A near miss

According to the video, narrated by Oren Jacob and Galyn Susman, an unnamed Pixar employee who was working on the film inadvertently entered “RM*” into his or her computer. Because the filmmakers used a Linux operating system, this command initiated an immediate purge of the hard drive.

Jacob and Susman noted that they watched as elements of the film, such as characters and animated environments, began to disappear. Eventually, someone unplugged the server. In that short period of time, the film was significantly compromised.

Theoretically, this should not have been a major issue, as the film was backed up regularly. However, Jacob and Susman then discovered that the backups had failed for the last month and no one had replaced them in that time, meaning that the backup copies of the film were unusable.

“Toy Story 2” was only saved because Susman happened to have a copy of the film on her personal computer for her own use, not for work purposes.

Best practices not followed

As technology expert Eric Shonebarger has noted in an interview with IT Business Edge, a key component of disaster recovery is testing. Only by regularly simulating a data recovery effort can a company ensure that its backups are performing correctly and take appropriate action if they are not. Had Pixar’s filmmakers, rather than the IT workers, tested their data recovery abilities, the near-destruction of “Toy Story 2” could quite possibly have been avoided.