5th Jan 2010
Gremlins in the works at Salesforce.com as a Fourth of January outage leaves subscribers unable to use the platform for over an hour.
Software as a Service (SaaS) provider, Salesforce.com experienced a near-global service disruption for over an hour on 4 January. The downtime came as the company dealt with the highest number of transactions for weeks, as subscribers returned from their Christmas breaks.
The disruption affected all of Salesforce.com’s instances, including Japan, North America, Europe, Middle East, and Africa. Luckily for the company the downtime hit between 12:10pm PST to 1:25pm PST (8:10pm GMT to 9:25pm GMT), after office hours for many global regions.
A second, shorter disruption was recorded within a half hour of the previous outage, but lasted just seven minutes.
Salesforce.com is yet to issue a statement on the disruption, but according to Trust status website, the service “experienced a double failure which resulted in access to the storage subsystems to become unavailable. The Salesforce.com team had to reboot systems to restore connectivity."
December and January have in the past proved challenging months for the SaaS company, which has experienced several outages during the winter period in recent years. Major outages affected the service in December 2005 and January 2009, with separate minor outages recorded in January 2006.
A major disruption to the service also occurred in April 2006, while several Cloud platforms, including Salesforce.com and Amazon’s EC2 and S3 environments, together with major ecommerce sites like Walmart, were also affected by a Denial of Service (DDoS) attach on 23 December 2009. The attack affected users of NeuStar’s ultraDNS service, which translates web addresses into network-friendly Internet Protocol (IP) addresses.
The latest outage is likely to once again raise the debate over the pros and cons of Cloud services, and the question of whether or not the Salesforce.com disruption will derail the company - or indeed the SaaS movement - has already been posed by some quarters.
As has been well-documented in the past, such incidents have demonstrated the possible vulnerabilities of relying on a single vendor for IT support and services. However, proponents of the Cloud model highlight that most organisations are equally as susceptible to operational problems - if not more susceptible - than the Cloud vendors.