Dimension Data and Internet service provider iSAT have appeared in the High Court over a dispute involving a major failure of a cloud platform operated by Internet Solutions in March 2019.
iSAT has said that Dimension Data owes it R21 billion in damages for data that was lost as a result of the failure of Internet Solutions’ Consumer Virtual Machine (CVM) cloud platform.
It argued that it is owed the damages because the failure was due to negligence on the part of Dimension Data. Internet Solutions has been subsumed into the Dimension Data brand since the incident.
“This was a project that we had been working on for more than four years,” iSAT told MyBroadband. It said that the project needed the historical data, gathered over years, for predictive analysis.
“[The R21 billion] was projected income for about four years in total, from release date, with the sale of the business at the end of that time.”
During October 2020, after more than a year of back-and-forth between the two companies, iSAT posted its allegations against Internet Solutions online.
Dimension Data did not take kindly to the public allegations and applied for a High Court interdict against the website in which iSAT made its claims.
At the time of publication the site displayed the message: “This website is currently the subject of litigation and the contents thereof are accordingly unavailable until further notice.”
iSAT had published emails, which it said it received from Internet Solutions, stating that the CVM cloud platform had run on an outdated version of Openstack.
Openstack is an open source cloud computing platform that began as a joint project between Rackspace Hosting and NASA.
Nowadays the development of Openstack is financed through the Open Infrastructure Foundation whose sponsors include Facebook, Tencent, AT&T, Ericsson, Huawei, and Red Hat.
Top contributors to the Openstack codebase, according to Stackalytics, include companies like Red Hat, IBM, Rackspace, Huawei, Intel, and VMWare.
New versions of Openstack are released on a six-month cadence, and several old versions of the software have been declared “end of life”. The developers no longer maintain or provide security updates for these end of life versions of Openstack.
According to the information iSAT published, Internet Solutions stated that it had been running a version of Openstack called “Icehouse” at the time of the CVM crash.
Openstack Icehouse had been end of life since 2 July 2015.
MyBroadband received information that Dimension Data has since corrected its original statement, saying that the CVM ran on the “Juno” version of Openstack.
Juno was declared end of life on 7 December 2015.
iSAT said that the fact that the Internet Solutions CVM used such an outdated version of OpenStack in March 2019 means that the company had not been properly maintaining its platform.
It argued that Dimension Data effectively admitted to gross corporate negligence by not updating the version of Openstack powering its CVM platform.
Court transcripts show that Dimension Data disputed this version of events.
“We admitted to using software which reached end of life, not failing to maintain it,” Dimension Data’s legal counsel was quoted as saying.
MyBroadband asked Dimension Data to explain this statement, but the company declined to comment.
“It is correct that the matter was argued on 18 March 2021 and we are presently awaiting judgment. We have been advised by our attorneys that it would be inappropriate to comment pending the judgment,” a spokesperson for Dimension Data said.