The Domino Effect

Opinion: Outages of systems affect the software-as-a-service ecosystem.

On Dec. 20, I was scheduled to meet with representatives from Convoq about their new product, SellASAP. The meeting didnt take place. Why? Because Dec. 20 was also the day of Salesforce.coms outage, and SellASAPs demo accounts ran on Salesforce.coms affected systems.

While many direct users of the service experienced considerable inconvenience that day, the ecosystem that wants to build around its software-as-a-service platform also took a hit. You can use SellASAP without, but not to its fullest potential.

So, the outage was not only a pain for users but a missed (or delayed, anyway) opportunity for Convoq.

/zimages/3/28571.gifClick here to read more about how Salesforce.coms outages affect customers.

As Salesforce.coms service becomes a platform for hosting other applications, and as customers integrate existing applications and services with Salesforce.coms sales and support applications, the risk of an outage affecting a broader audience grows.

Unless finds a way to improve its own uptime, enterprise administrators wont be able to guarantee greater than 97 percent uptime for applications that touch the service.

And the more partners a customer engages, the higher the degree of downtime risk: 97 percent uptime with and 97 percent uptime with just one partner mean a potential 6 percent downtime window.

Services bundling isnt always a quick or easy path to lowering costs, as Sprints recent West Coast services outage proved. Software-as-a-service vendors can potentially deliver lower costs and faster deployment than internal IT departments, but weve seen that these vendors cant promise it (or at least they cant always deliver on those promises).

IT departments, meanwhile, can deliver transparency of process and established resolution procedures—and are, arguably, more accountable in the process.

eWEEK Labs Technical Analyst Michael Caton can be reached at

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