Recently, there was a complete failure in the leading software in tax firms “Datev”. The consequences were severe. Many law firms and tax consultants had to suspend their work for hours. The cause of the extensive problem was unknown for a long time. Now Datev has shed some light on the matter. Thus it is to have come to an interaction of equal to two software errors.
Error fixed in the meantime
Although almost a month has passed since Datev suffered a massive system failure, the issue is not yet closed for the Nuremberg-based company. In order to restore confidence among its justifiably angry customers, the software developer has been meticulously searching for a cause for the serious problem. The company told our colleagues at heise online that a “system-side cleanup” had led to one of the errors. The second error then ensured that it was no longer possible to start the system. A cleanup from the first error was also not possible. To ensure that Datev could correct the relevant errors as quickly as possible, the software developer enlisted the support of renowned experts. Namely, in addition to Datev’s in-house IT experts, programmers from IBM also helped.
November 8 will probably not be well remembered by Datev. After all, on that day there was a complete breakdown of the service. The most problematic aspect was not the outage itself, but the developer’s handling of the misery. After all, many tax offices, tax consultants and other companies only learned about the far-reaching outage when they were informed about the problems by colleagues. Datev did not communicate the problem until several hours later. So it’s hardly surprising that many firms initially thought that their own network or server problems were the cause of the shutdown.
Now that Datev has been able to work out the cause, the scope of the whole problem is only becoming really clear. After all, according to its own information, the cooperatively organized company had been struggling with problems itself. According to Datev, even internal company e-mails were affected. In the community blog of Datev, it said as follows:
″The first trigger on November 8 was an error in the IBM database software, which led to faulty memory management during automatic system-side cleanup actions and subsequently to the system crash″
This bug started the ball rolling. Namely, when trying to restore the original state, a second one already came into play. This ensured that a reboot was no longer possible at all. Error number 2 lasted for some time. So Datev could only announce on November 14 that the service could now be fully used again.
Datev is self-critical
Of course, the software service provider is aware that customers were anything but pleased when they suffered from the error. Also the intransparent communication as well as the long duration of the error removal provided on sides of many Kanzleien and tax counsels for frustration. Datev itself is not sparing with self-critical words about the complete failure. The company is aware that the problem and its consequences should have been better contained. In particular, Datev would completely redistribute the computing load if a similar scenario were to occur again. Finally, after the system was restored, twice as many receipts were received by the service provider’s servers than usual. In addition to all the problems, this also caused hardware failures on the provider’s side.
Datev assumes no consequential damage
Of course, the biggest concern of customers is that serious consequential damage was caused by the system failure. However, Datev was able to quickly put these fears to rest. Thus, the company was able to get the services up and running again quickly without much delay. Customers should therefore not be able to blame the complete failure for missed deadlines or other causes of damage. Should a customer nevertheless encounter problems with the tax office, Datev has already taken preventive measures. For example, the company has posted a corresponding document as a template on its own website.
Different handling of disruptions in the future
Should a malfunction occur again at Datev, the company vows to deal with it in a better way. For example, it wants to create a conspicuous emergency banner. In an emergency, this banner will be displayed on the website to quickly alert customers to a problem.