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Salesforce Outage Draws Cloud Criticism

Salesforce Outage Draws Cloud Criticism

A 40-minute outage at SaaS poster-child Salesforce.com (www.salesforce.com) Tuesday affected thousands of the company's customers and had media sources questioning elements of the company's service as broad as "cloud computing."

The outage, according to a CNet story, took place at 12:40 p.m. PST on Tuesday, and lasted approximately 40 minutes. The problem was reportedly caused by a network device failure, which prevented data from being processed in Japan, Europe and North America. Automatic failover to the company's backup systems failed, requiring Salesforce.com staff to bring systems back online manually.

The CNet story quotes Freeform Dynamics senior analyst Tony Lock, who says the issue shouldn't have much impact on the company's reputation, given its good track record over the past few years, and the general acceptance among customers that IT services aren't going to be online 100 percent of the time. But other sources weren't as forgiving in their reading of the situation.

"An outage at software-as-a-service pioneer Salesforce.com yesterday has provoked an angry reaction from some customers, and raised further questions about the reliability of the on-demand application delivery model," reads the opening paragraph of a story appearing on vnuet.com.

The Register's story ran under the cute-but-fearsome headline "Salesforce.com outage exposes cloud's dark linings."

Rich Miller of Data Center Knowledge raises a more practical question about the effectiveness of hosting your own network uptime dashboard.

He quotes WebMetrics engineer Lenny Rachitsky, who wrote that "this event clearly shows us why hosting your own public health dashboard is a problem."

The Salesforce.com incident itself seems to have been resolved completely.

"While we are confident the root cause has been addressed by the work-around," the company said, quoted in the CNet story. "The Salesforce.com technology team will continue to work with hardware vendors to fully detail the root cause and identify if further patching or fixes will be needed."

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