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Fed Disk Debacle's an ILM Cue

Los Alamos National Laboratory, home to one of the nation's more sensitive nuclear weapons facilities, is a storage networking trendsetter. But that hasn't stopped data from disappearing from the lab's inventory.

The lab this week acknowledged in a public statement that "10 separate pieces of electronic storage, consisting of nine floppy disks and a single large-capacity storage disk" were found missing from the lab's Nonproliferation and International Security Center during routine inventory checks. While at least one of the disks was very old, and it doesn't look as if any classified data's been compromised, the lab's gone into investigative mode.

Among other measures, the lab is reviewing the security and policies "for control of computer data storage devices." Also, various newspaper reports say the University of California, which contracts with the U.S. Department of Energy to manage the lab, may eventually lose its 50-year contract with Los Alamos over this and other snafus.

All this is happening in a facility that's been a poster-child for the latest in networked storage. In October 2003, Los Alamos made headlines and put Panasas Inc. on the map when it invested nearly $3 million in the startup's object-based clustered Linux NAS (see Panasas). The lab also is a big customer of data recovery applications from BakBone Software Inc. (Toronto: BKB) (see BakBone Wins Los Alamos Lab).

What's going on here? What's a facility with the latest in storage networking doing losing data -- and on floppy disks, for heaven's sake?

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