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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Hosted Services, SaaS & Outages

When hosted service Typepad went down, it drew severe criticism that Jeff Nolan decided to switch to a new platform. Blogger has given me enough anxious moments in the past with outages.
A friend of mine pointed to the news about salesforce.com outage. It is indeed highly surprising that this should happen with the pioneer and the best known name in hosted solutions - recently we witnessed a Google outage. Amongst the top set of concerns that CIO’s looking towards embracing SaaS solutions have is availability & security. Outages like this have the effect of not only affecting immediate users but most of the times the complete ecosystem as well.As Phil Wainewright points out - having set itself up as the poster child for on-demand applications and the nemesis of conventional software, an extended outage at salesforce.com is bad news not just for salesforce.com but for everyone in the on-demand industry. On-demand outages are a lot like air disasters. They're massively less frequent than outages of conventional on-premises software. But when they do happen, instead of affecting just one company or set of users, they affect a whole lot of companies and users all at the same time. One of the reasons that corproates hesitate to outsource even email servies are beacuse of possible situations like this - not that inhouse infrastructure may not break down - but still the bar is always set high when infrastructure/crtical apps are hosted outside.Voices of concerns about salesforce.com not communicating well enough on time are also getting heard – Mark McCormack once wrote to the effect that it is elementary business sense to appreciate that its not a crisis that people would remember but how a crisis is managed would make a long lasting impression. Hopefully salesforce.com would get wiser and improve its infrastruture and more importantly its customer relationship management & disaster manaagement capabilities.

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