My Rogue One review: it’s an IT worker’s nightmare

So, my post yesterday, In defense of spoilers: you might want to read that and consider it if you haven’t seen Rogue One yet.

I saw Rogue One over the Xmas break, and, I gotta say, it represents an IT worker’s worst nightmare. Here’s what happens in the movie: rebels infiltrate the Empire’s data bank base on Scarif to steal the Death Star plans. When the Empire finally figures out what’s going on, Tarkin, shows up riding a giant killer egg and blows up the entire site. Everybody dies. Except Tarkin.

Read another way: hackers infiltrate a corporate off-site backup facility, and the CEO decides it’s easier to cancel the off-site contract and layoff all the IT workers–regardless of financial costs or lost data concerns.

I had read some spoilers about this movie before seeing it, but none of them mentioned Tarkin nuking the Empire’s base on Scarif. This caught me totally by surprise, and, I shit you not, I developed a tic in my eyelid for the rest of the movie as the thought “Please, God, tell me this is just one of many data backup sites they have” scrolled across my forehead LED-style. This isn’t saying I was rooting for the Empire. This is saying I believe whole-heartedly in monomaniacally performing physical backups of your data at all times.  And that I was completely shocked by the Empire’s cavalier attitude toward their physical data storage site.

PEOPLE, DON’T TRUST THE CLOUD. ALWAYS KEEP LOCAL PHYSICAL BACKUPS OF YOUR DATA. IF YOU DON’T, YOU’VE ONLY YOURSELF TO BLAME AND ME TO GIVE PITILESS, DISAPPROVING NODS.

Another quick thought on the Empire’s backup facility: that column in the middle of the facility with all the backup tapes and the device that extracted/replaced tapes. When I was a student UNIX sysadmin at UNC back in the late 90s, we had a device like that in the basement of Philips Hall: a robot arm that pulled and replaced backup tapes all day long. I was impressed by the device back then.  But when I saw the Empire had essentially the same thing, all I could think was “Goddamn it, we solved that problem 20 years ago, and The Empire isn’t doing anything more advanced than a Jaz drive vacuum cleaner? Some future. Fuck this place. Tarkin, burn this shit to the ground.”

Update: Just found this article on data formats in the Star Wars Universe.  Yes, it is a clusterfuck.

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