What Outage?

Company, customers disagree on outage.

Where were you when the software went out? executives and the companys customers are apparently agreeing to disagree over outages and their root causes.

On Jan. 30, Salesforce.coms servers were down for several hours between about 10 a.m. and 2:15 p.m. EST, according to customers such as Mark Siler, vice president of IT at Priority One Financial Services, in St. Petersburg, Fla.

"Since they released their Winter 06 release, there have been continuous problems," said Siler, who provided eWEEK with a screenshot illustrating the outage.

The latest outage comes just weeks after customers experienced a major outage lasting about 5 hours on Dec. 20. On Jan. 5, the company had a "minor interruption" of service.

Whats different this time? said its customers were mistaken. On Jan. 30, Bruce Francis, vice president of corporate strategy at, said outage reports were "not accurate."

"We were not down for several hours. Thats just not true," Francis said. "Some of our customers experienced intermittent access this morning for about a half an hour. The application is running fine right now."

On Feb. 1, CEO Marc Benioff followed up and said outages could be attributed to "shaking out" the companys new $50 million data center.

"No company has 100 percent uptime. No utility has 100 percent uptime. But, still, we are doing it better than anyone else in our industry," Benioff said at a Merrill Lynch & Co. IT services and software conference in Las Vegas.

Several customers suggested that the outages were caused by a problem with the API.

"That means that any kind of applications you have interfacing with Salesforce, using their API, you cant connect to them," said Melissa Caylor, director of IT at First New England Mortgage, in Newton, Mass., which was one of the customers affected by the Jan. 30 outage.

However, Benioff denied, in an e-mail message to eWEEK, that there was any problem with the API. "We do not have API issues to my knowledge, and this is not accurate. In fact, that is the first I have heard [of] anything like that," Benioff said.

Benioff said that the San Francisco company will achieve higher availability rates after it has completely broken in its new data center.

In the meantime, customers will be watching, wrote Michael Murphy in a First Albany Capital research note. "The outage experience has transitioned from an isolated event into a recurring trend and the get out of jail free card has been used," said Murphy.