Delivering mission critical apps as a service

When anyone thinks of SaaS companies, the first and primary example is always salesforce.com

But, when you are delivering something that is mission critical “as a service”, then you simply cannot afford the donwtime and the maintenance windows that companies such as salesforce have. The argument is that, salesforce.com is a business application, if it is not available because of system maintenance, then customers can live with that, particularly if the maintenance is done outside of core business hours.

But, if you are delivering say a monitoring product, that is your eyes and ears for your entire IT infrastructure, then you simply can’t afford for it to be not available. I noticed yesterday the EC2 outage and the amount of companies that it took down…Reddit, Foursquare, Quora was just 3 that were reported….clearly those companies do not consider themselves providing a mission critical service just yet. When you are the supplier, your customer holds YOU accountable….if EC2 or anyone else is down, that is not your customer’s problem…it is YOUR problem, no point in pointing fingers because YOU are the one that signed up to deliver the service to your customer.

Quora posted this yesterday….

“We’d point fingers, but we wouldn’t be where we are today without EC2.”

Which is basically shifting the blame to someone else. How about, instead of that the post should have been:

“One of our suppliers had an outage yesterday and as such, we are conducting an immediate review of our infrastructure so that no outage by any supplier can effect the service that we are providing to our customers”

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