Never fear transparency

by admin on June 30, 2009

in Cloud Computing/SaaS

Xero had an outage last evening UK time, 8.15am in New Zealand. The outage lasted 45 minutes and was attributed to data centre issues at Rackspace Dallas, its hosting provider. Xero isn’t alone. The Rackspace issue spread to others. As you can see from the sponsored feeds, the company kept users informed via its blog and Twitter.

I notice that none of the comments are negative but all are wholly supportive of the company perhaps best exemplified by this from Nic Wise:

Nice transparent post, Ali. Good to see the transparency permeates thru all parts of the business :)

And yes – outages suck, but 45 mins in what? 2 years? Not exactly a bad record, esp if there is no data loss.

It is a good example of what world class saas vendors have to do when things go pear shaped. They have little choice but to ‘fess up and keep customers informed. It IS part of the service.

Saas naysayers often carp on about outages and the potential data losses. But has anyone bothered to look at the outages that impact on-premise applications? How many on-premise operators can point to 99.99% uptime? How about the time wasted trying to patch applications or running upgrades? Outages are non-trivial events and of course when a saas vendor is hit, every customer has a problem, especially if the system is run from a single data centre. But these are becoming rarer and good saas vendors have plenty of data defense techniques in place to help ensure that customers’ inconvenience is limited to lack of access. Can on-premise operators say the same?

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Comments on this entry are closed.

Kelvin Hartnall July 1, 2009 at 9:24 am

Great post – I completely agree. For a Saas company like Xero, one intangible asset that isn't recognised on their balance sheet is trust. I think the way they handled this outage with full and immediate transparency has enhanced my trust in Xero rather than diminished it.

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