TheDailyWTF describes how poor database design and user error bankrupted a small chain of pet stores.
“MegaPetCo” was upset that its website ran incredibly slow. Consultant Rick discovered MegaPetCo was using a single shared database for its website and everything else in its business — sales, payroll, HR, inventory, tax records, invoices and maintenance tickets. The database was incredibly simple: a single table with hundreds of columns. It probably had humble beginnings as a spreadsheet and organically grew into a vast monolith over the seven years that MegaPetCo was in business. All told, the database had millions of rows in a single table.
Then one day a developer was optimizing the database and removing records that MegaPetCo no longer needed. All it took was a single, poorly-formed delete query to wipe out each and every row in the database table. MegaPetCo’s sales immediately ground to a halt, along with everything else in the company. And of course — you guessed it — there were no backups.
Within a few months, the company filed for bankruptcy and was forced to close every one of its stores, laying off several hundred people along the way.
Article published on July 1, 2009
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