Software-as-a-service giant, Salesforce.com, left more than 900,000 customers without service (and their application) for 38 minutes on Tuesday 6th. The cause of the problem, it was later identified, was due to a memory allocation failure in the main servers and back up servers and required human intervention to be solved.
The problem stopped data being processed in Japan, Europe and North America and hit Salesforce.com's data centers. All services were back online in two and a half hours; there were claims that more than 177 million transactions were aborted during the period.
A spokesperson for the company said that "While we are confident the root cause has been addressed by the work-around, 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."
Does this mean that the SaaS model should be questioned? Handling over control of your most precious data to a third party carries its pros and cons. In Tuesday's incident, the cons outweighed the pros but it is human nature to criticise when things go wrong. No one applauded Salesforce for being 99.9999 percent online.
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With great power comes great responsibility. Salesforce.com is a very complex machinery. The company has been quite upfront about the outage and will certainly learn a lot about the incident. At the end of the day, a problem happens and was solved quickly. Everyday is a school day.