Salesforce hits problems

This is why I said “give Six Apart a break” a few days ago. Turns out that Salesforce.com had an outage the other day too. See, this is why I don’t like this rush to the Web for everything. It’s why I like an RSS aggregator that stores my stuff on BOTH the Web AND my desktop or Tablet PC. Silicon.com has a better article on this.

This is why I say Steve Gillmor is nuts when he says Office is dead. Silicon Valley has been trying to kill the thick client ever since it came out. Sorry, I still want my data local. It’s what I really liked about Radio UserLand. Right now my data is at WordPress. Now, I like Matt a lot, but he’s in control of my digital life. If his servers get hit by a terrorist everything I have disappears. Not so if I had it stored locally as a backup like I did with Radio UserLand.

But, back to the Six Apart point. Truth is that these systems are still way too fragile and having a totally resilient system is extremely difficult. I’m certainly not going to throw the first rock here. But, I love having systems that have BOTH a Web and a local storage capability.

I look at Exchange’s email. I can get to it from a Web browser, which is great cause I can get to my email over at friends’ houses without having to carry my Tablet PC along, but I also have it stored locally (on several machines, I might add) so if something with the Internet or datacenter goes screwy I have everything backed up.

In all the Web 2.0 hype I don’t see enough emphasis on this. Look at Riya. I have to upload my photos to their servers to have the system work. Why can’t I do all that work locally as well and have a backup copy?

I’ll tell you why: adoption.

Most entrepreneurs (and even those of us inside big companies) know that you’ll get far faster adoption if you don’t make users install anything.

Which is why things like Salesforce.com are so attractive. It reduces IT costs by not forcing companies to install software on their PCs.

But, there is a cost. You’re looking at it in this post.

Comments

  1. I, like you would rather have data in both locations, the question is, which is the live location?

    WordPress.com makes sense to be the live location for your blog as it is a blog. In other words, the user of the blog isn’t you, it is the blog visitor. (I am assuming of course, that you get more visitors than you post.)

    Office, or compatible software is most likely used by a single person for the majority of the time so although files should be synced to a central location, the actual work makes sense to be done on a local machine.

    I guess for me it all comes down to the user. If it makes sense, go central location, if it doesn’t, keep it on the desktop.

  2. I, like you would rather have data in both locations, the question is, which is the live location?

    WordPress.com makes sense to be the live location for your blog as it is a blog. In other words, the user of the blog isn’t you, it is the blog visitor. (I am assuming of course, that you get more visitors than you post.)

    Office, or compatible software is most likely used by a single person for the majority of the time so although files should be synced to a central location, the actual work makes sense to be done on a local machine.

    I guess for me it all comes down to the user. If it makes sense, go central location, if it doesn’t, keep it on the desktop.

  3. Sheldon: the thing is, that’s not really true. How many of my readers read every single post I ever make? I’d expect the number to approach 0, if not be 0.

    So, how can I expect users to back up my work?

    But, I’m the one who has written all my blog posts. So, I wish I could store them all locally in a way that makes it easy to get a new blog up and running in case something awful happens to WordPress.

  4. Sheldon: the thing is, that’s not really true. How many of my readers read every single post I ever make? I’d expect the number to approach 0, if not be 0.

    So, how can I expect users to back up my work?

    But, I’m the one who has written all my blog posts. So, I wish I could store them all locally in a way that makes it easy to get a new blog up and running in case something awful happens to WordPress.

  5. That’s got to be the worst and most stupid Scoble post in a month.

    A website outage is not inherent to web technologies.

    That’s ridiculous.

  6. That’s got to be the worst and most stupid Scoble post in a month.

    A website outage is not inherent to web technologies.

    That’s ridiculous.

  7. Hahaha, oh dear me. Mike, you haven’t been reading this blog much, eh? When he’s right, he’s right. I even worked in a slight insult, “few”, “brain-cells” “still alive”. Some groupie I am, give me an F. ;)

    Archives/Backups/Local Storage of ‘mission critical material’, is but a starting point for real CMS. Working on the average speccy script in Final Draft, I will end up with nearly 100 backups, all vital, sometimes lifesavingly so. So not sure why the blogger and HTML jockeys are so clavier, angsty and dismissive with issues like local storage and replication. Just shows that blogs are not real CMS, just hacked-together cheap-rip off’s playing mark-up games.

    This blog is ‘mission critical’ to your career, act accordingly. Back to the drawing board, get real a CMS.

  8. Robert, anyone saying that ANY one kind of client interface is “teh wun!!!” is stupid.

    Some things need a fat client, like groupware. But other things? For example, why isn’t the management UI for Exchange 12 all AJAX/ATLAS? What possible advantage does a fat client have in that situation? The same thing for backup software. If I’m running a top line backup server, then a Web UI with command line as an option is all i need. I don’t need a fat client, there’s no advantage to it.

    Both interface types have their strengths and weaknesses, but everyone is in this THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE!!! mode, so it’s all sucky.

  9. Hahaha, oh dear me. Mike, you haven’t been reading this blog much, eh? When he’s right, he’s right. I even worked in a slight insult, “few”, “brain-cells” “still alive”. Some groupie I am, give me an F. ;)

    Archives/Backups/Local Storage of ‘mission critical material’, is but a starting point for real CMS. Working on the average speccy script in Final Draft, I will end up with nearly 100 backups, all vital, sometimes lifesavingly so. So not sure why the blogger and HTML jockeys are so clavier, angsty and dismissive with issues like local storage and replication. Just shows that blogs are not real CMS, just hacked-together cheap-rip off’s playing mark-up games.

    This blog is ‘mission critical’ to your career, act accordingly. Back to the drawing board, get real a CMS.

  10. Robert, anyone saying that ANY one kind of client interface is “teh wun!!!” is stupid.

    Some things need a fat client, like groupware. But other things? For example, why isn’t the management UI for Exchange 12 all AJAX/ATLAS? What possible advantage does a fat client have in that situation? The same thing for backup software. If I’m running a top line backup server, then a Web UI with command line as an option is all i need. I don’t need a fat client, there’s no advantage to it.

    Both interface types have their strengths and weaknesses, but everyone is in this THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE!!! mode, so it’s all sucky.

  11. I don’t quite understand your arguement? How can i store all my CRM data locally ? Systems are gonna have problem every once in a while and they are going to go down. Even if it is a local SAP installation or on demand Salesforce implementation. I use CRM products daily, they are served over the web via Oracle Forms or JSPS, please tell me how I can save them locally for later use when Oracle is down? We are not talking about personal productivity software here ( office ) but hundreds of gigs of data which cannot be available offline.. And can you guarantee if Microsoft CRM will never have a down time ?

  12. I don’t quite understand your arguement? How can i store all my CRM data locally ? Systems are gonna have problem every once in a while and they are going to go down. Even if it is a local SAP installation or on demand Salesforce implementation. I use CRM products daily, they are served over the web via Oracle Forms or JSPS, please tell me how I can save them locally for later use when Oracle is down? We are not talking about personal productivity software here ( office ) but hundreds of gigs of data which cannot be available offline.. And can you guarantee if Microsoft CRM will never have a down time ?

  13. A website outage is not inherent to web technologies.

    Then to what is it inherent? The position of the stars, sun and moon? Servers, scability, limits of mark-up tech, coding errors/buffer-overflow’s/poor error-control, differing browser implementations/different renderings, database strain, DOS attacks, Security/hackings — whatever the point of failure and wherever you decide to lay the (political) blame, the fact remains — backups are vital. Indeed the first step.

  14. A website outage is not inherent to web technologies.

    Then to what is it inherent? The position of the stars, sun and moon? Servers, scability, limits of mark-up tech, coding errors/buffer-overflow’s/poor error-control, differing browser implementations/different renderings, database strain, DOS attacks, Security/hackings — whatever the point of failure and wherever you decide to lay the (political) blame, the fact remains — backups are vital. Indeed the first step.

  15. symptom of fact that tech vendors CTOs (as different from corporate CIOs) like to own everything…when Six apart had its problems 2 months ago I asked the CEO why he did not get reliable, SLA based hosting from an EDS or MCI. His answer for “our size” we need to manage and own our own data center. If Fortune 500 companies can outsource infrastucture (in the Gartner hype cycle for outsourcing it is one of the most mature areas)so can tech vendors, It’s the same with use of offshoring, open source etc – when your customers are 2-3 years ahead in using certain practices, it’s time to wake up and challenge the CTO.

  16. symptom of fact that tech vendors CTOs (as different from corporate CIOs) like to own everything…when Six apart had its problems 2 months ago I asked the CEO why he did not get reliable, SLA based hosting from an EDS or MCI. His answer for “our size” we need to manage and own our own data center. If Fortune 500 companies can outsource infrastucture (in the Gartner hype cycle for outsourcing it is one of the most mature areas)so can tech vendors, It’s the same with use of offshoring, open source etc – when your customers are 2-3 years ahead in using certain practices, it’s time to wake up and challenge the CTO.

  17. “See, this is why I don’t like this rush to the Web for everything.”

    How many BILLIONS of dollars and man-hours have we lost on stuff we installed on our desktops, from Windows to Outlook? How many BILLIONS in installing, reinstalling, rererererererererereinstalling, patching, repatching, rerererererererererepatching. So let’s be honest about this, Roberto.

  18. “See, this is why I don’t like this rush to the Web for everything.”

    How many BILLIONS of dollars and man-hours have we lost on stuff we installed on our desktops, from Windows to Outlook? How many BILLIONS in installing, reinstalling, rererererererererereinstalling, patching, repatching, rerererererererererepatching. So let’s be honest about this, Roberto.

  19. Back in the real world, Web 2.0 relies on the ubiquity, reliability and speed of Internet infrastructure to exist.

    Microsoft’s recent brawls with ‘on-demand’ applications suppliers, followed by the swift launch of a web-based Office suite (and CRM product!), follows the same pattern of the company’s age-old strategy of criticising innovation before wading in and taking over a new market. After all, MS never thought the Internet would catch on…

    Salesforce is pushing the boundaries of a new technology, and by doing so creating a stronger foundation for Web 2.0. A bit of intermittant downtime – with no loss of data – is a tiny price to pay.

    Sorry Scoble – you tried to look casual in your post but, in the end, it’s just another (marketing-driven) dig at a classic Microsoft enemy. Try harder next time.

  20. Back in the real world, Web 2.0 relies on the ubiquity, reliability and speed of Internet infrastructure to exist.

    Microsoft’s recent brawls with ‘on-demand’ applications suppliers, followed by the swift launch of a web-based Office suite (and CRM product!), follows the same pattern of the company’s age-old strategy of criticising innovation before wading in and taking over a new market. After all, MS never thought the Internet would catch on…

    Salesforce is pushing the boundaries of a new technology, and by doing so creating a stronger foundation for Web 2.0. A bit of intermittant downtime – with no loss of data – is a tiny price to pay.

    Sorry Scoble – you tried to look casual in your post but, in the end, it’s just another (marketing-driven) dig at a classic Microsoft enemy. Try harder next time.

  21. Greetings,
    What’s with the smiley graphic on the home page under the main graphic?!?

    As others have said, for some things a thick client is necessary. For others, a thin is optimal. The real cool action comes on the edges, where one or the other will do, and then it’s just which side innovates better, and makes their approach more indispensable.

    — Morgan

  22. Greetings,
    What’s with the smiley graphic on the home page under the main graphic?!?

    As others have said, for some things a thick client is necessary. For others, a thin is optimal. The real cool action comes on the edges, where one or the other will do, and then it’s just which side innovates better, and makes their approach more indispensable.

    — Morgan

  23. How can i store all my CRM data locally?

    Every CRM product I have used offers local storage. Even Salesforce has an “Offline Edition”. Don’t you think sales dudes would want access to their data on all their flights?

    I wouldn’t dismiss the massive advatnage of creating a web-based service: ease.

  24. How can i store all my CRM data locally?

    Every CRM product I have used offers local storage. Even Salesforce has an “Offline Edition”. Don’t you think sales dudes would want access to their data on all their flights?

    I wouldn’t dismiss the massive advatnage of creating a web-based service: ease.

  25. Having reliable, highly-available on-line systems is not particularly difficult. The main issue is that it’s expensive.

    If you want a highly-available system, with almost no unscheduled downtime; and the ability to rapidly restore the service in the event catastrophic disaster in super-quick time (with priority data restored first) – you simply have to be prepared to pay big bucks for it.

    I’m not sure there’s anything *fundamentally* different about an on-line service from an internal locally managed system. You choose the level of reliability you need: 99%, 99.9%, 99.99%, 99.999% etc. The you choose the response times you need. And then you get your credit card out…

  26. Having reliable, highly-available on-line systems is not particularly difficult. The main issue is that it’s expensive.

    If you want a highly-available system, with almost no unscheduled downtime; and the ability to rapidly restore the service in the event catastrophic disaster in super-quick time (with priority data restored first) – you simply have to be prepared to pay big bucks for it.

    I’m not sure there’s anything *fundamentally* different about an on-line service from an internal locally managed system. You choose the level of reliability you need: 99%, 99.9%, 99.99%, 99.999% etc. The you choose the response times you need. And then you get your credit card out…

  27. Morgan: I noticed that when I used Safari. I can’t see it in IE. What browser/OS are you using.

    Venks: the same way my email is stored locally, even though it’s inherently a server-based service.

  28. Morgan: I noticed that when I used Safari. I can’t see it in IE. What browser/OS are you using.

    Venks: the same way my email is stored locally, even though it’s inherently a server-based service.

  29. this is great. the web is a great for synchronizing and having a local copy lets you have the rich interaction. my favorite firefox extension is the incredibly transparent foxmarks (www.foxcloud.com). my bookmarks are on teh web, but I don’t have to use clunky web UI to add/delete/modify. Yet, i get the benefit of the web in that they are available on all computers I use and new ones I set up.

    teh debate between thick VS thin client is idiotic and promoted by companies that have lost the battle on the client to MSFT – i saw this first hand at Oracle when the thin client obsession forced developers to edit the code files over a connection – everyone felt that they were back in teh 60s working on mainframes.

    the answer is thin AND thick clients – combine the rich interactivity of the client

  30. this is great. the web is a great for synchronizing and having a local copy lets you have the rich interaction. my favorite firefox extension is the incredibly transparent foxmarks (www.foxcloud.com). my bookmarks are on teh web, but I don’t have to use clunky web UI to add/delete/modify. Yet, i get the benefit of the web in that they are available on all computers I use and new ones I set up.

    teh debate between thick VS thin client is idiotic and promoted by companies that have lost the battle on the client to MSFT – i saw this first hand at Oracle when the thin client obsession forced developers to edit the code files over a connection – everyone felt that they were back in teh 60s working on mainframes.

    the answer is thin AND thick clients – combine the rich interactivity of the client

  31. Coulter is out in force. There is a Grinch!

    But seriously, I’ve been saying this internally at Microsoft for almost two years. SaaS is a great thing- we should offer services in almost every area that we’re building software. But services cannot fully replace premise-based solutions, whether they run on clients, servers, or both. Long live the client!

  32. Coulter is out in force. There is a Grinch!

    But seriously, I’ve been saying this internally at Microsoft for almost two years. SaaS is a great thing- we should offer services in almost every area that we’re building software. But services cannot fully replace premise-based solutions, whether they run on clients, servers, or both. Long live the client!

  33. What are you saying Robert? Is it that web+desktop have to co-exist or is it that web is long term for everything, in the meantime stick with the desktop where appropriate?

    If so then you may recall we had this discussion in Paris at Les Blogs and at the time we agreed certain forms of work – like BI/analysis – don’t make sense on the web. I think we’re probably 60/40 in favour of the desktop today and PPT? – Haven’t a clue.

    But that’s today. It isn’t tomorrow – and we didn’t pursue that discussion. The telco providers are falling over themselves in Europe to do the land grab thing. I see in the US telco’s both fracturing and consolidating.

    As a user – my only perceived constraint is access. 10 years ago I would tolerate 10 sec page load, today, my 15yr old son kills the page if it’s more than 3secs. And my provider is offering me the kind of access I could only dream of 5 years ago.

    Who’s to say that with access proliferating globally coupled to the rapid expansion in both bandwidth and storage that our ‘agreement’ today about analytics and the desktop will look anything other than naive in another 5 years? I feel nervous about betting on that. How about you Robert?

    But to your point today – the desktop is absolutely necessary – even if abhorrent to Web 2.0 affiliates.

  34. What are you saying Robert? Is it that web+desktop have to co-exist or is it that web is long term for everything, in the meantime stick with the desktop where appropriate?

    If so then you may recall we had this discussion in Paris at Les Blogs and at the time we agreed certain forms of work – like BI/analysis – don’t make sense on the web. I think we’re probably 60/40 in favour of the desktop today and PPT? – Haven’t a clue.

    But that’s today. It isn’t tomorrow – and we didn’t pursue that discussion. The telco providers are falling over themselves in Europe to do the land grab thing. I see in the US telco’s both fracturing and consolidating.

    As a user – my only perceived constraint is access. 10 years ago I would tolerate 10 sec page load, today, my 15yr old son kills the page if it’s more than 3secs. And my provider is offering me the kind of access I could only dream of 5 years ago.

    Who’s to say that with access proliferating globally coupled to the rapid expansion in both bandwidth and storage that our ‘agreement’ today about analytics and the desktop will look anything other than naive in another 5 years? I feel nervous about betting on that. How about you Robert?

    But to your point today – the desktop is absolutely necessary – even if abhorrent to Web 2.0 affiliates.

  35. Greetings,
    Hey there Robert… I’m using Firefox on Linux. It’s cute, when you notice it.

    The URL looks a bit like a tracking image, to see what articles are read most often or something, and appears to be generated by the javascript at the bottom of the page. I imagine it’s still there on IE, but on a different layer or something.

    Anyhow, I bought insurance recently from a Bellevue broker for Farmers, and the insurance broker’s entire setup to do insurance was through what appeared to be a very well written web tool. Most interestingly, his T1 went down twice during the time we were going through the process, and the server saved everything done in a ‘unfinished application’ area on their web page (and if I were to guess, I’d say the small amount of unsubmitted data was in a local cookie).

    On one hand, it was frustrating that he had trouble writing me insurance because his net access was bouncy (even his document templates were online), but it was definitely a hallmark of an intelligent web designer that it didn’t lose anything in the process.

    Let us know what you find out about the happy face!

    — Morgan

  36. Greetings,
    Hey there Robert… I’m using Firefox on Linux. It’s cute, when you notice it.

    The URL looks a bit like a tracking image, to see what articles are read most often or something, and appears to be generated by the javascript at the bottom of the page. I imagine it’s still there on IE, but on a different layer or something.

    Anyhow, I bought insurance recently from a Bellevue broker for Farmers, and the insurance broker’s entire setup to do insurance was through what appeared to be a very well written web tool. Most interestingly, his T1 went down twice during the time we were going through the process, and the server saved everything done in a ‘unfinished application’ area on their web page (and if I were to guess, I’d say the small amount of unsubmitted data was in a local cookie).

    On one hand, it was frustrating that he had trouble writing me insurance because his net access was bouncy (even his document templates were online), but it was definitely a hallmark of an intelligent web designer that it didn’t lose anything in the process.

    Let us know what you find out about the happy face!

    — Morgan

  37. The desire to avoid installation of software is a myth. When you browse to a website, the files (HTML, Javascript, etc.) are copied to your hard drive and executed there. The only difference is that the installation procedure is more trusted and works across platforms. However, as you point out the perception of no installation affects adoption of software. I hope that this will change very soon.

  38. The desire to avoid installation of software is a myth. When you browse to a website, the files (HTML, Javascript, etc.) are copied to your hard drive and executed there. The only difference is that the installation procedure is more trusted and works across platforms. However, as you point out the perception of no installation affects adoption of software. I hope that this will change very soon.

  39. Just run WP on your desktop. It’s actually easy to do and then add it to ecto/qumana/wbloggar and publish to both places that way you always have a backup and can easily transfer the data. Plus you can have a mirrored backup if wordpress.com crashes.

  40. Just run WP on your desktop. It’s actually easy to do and then add it to ecto/qumana/wbloggar and publish to both places that way you always have a backup and can easily transfer the data. Plus you can have a mirrored backup if wordpress.com crashes.

  41. Agree totally… I want the flexibility of the rich client AND the web client not one or the other.. e.g. I love http://www.writely.com as a play thing but I’d actually use it in anger if it would sync with Word on my laptop and or my PDA. I’m peronsally not willing to sacrifice the power and productivity of the thick client for the convenience of the web (or, indeed the hype of Web 2.0). Now if only the synchronization protocols were more open, we could mix and match.

  42. Agree totally… I want the flexibility of the rich client AND the web client not one or the other.. e.g. I love http://www.writely.com as a play thing but I’d actually use it in anger if it would sync with Word on my laptop and or my PDA. I’m peronsally not willing to sacrifice the power and productivity of the thick client for the convenience of the web (or, indeed the hype of Web 2.0). Now if only the synchronization protocols were more open, we could mix and match.

  43. People are hard to change! Why do we always assume that in-house applications are saffer and more reliable?

    We resist change, but we eventually adopt, and few glitches here and there will be forgotten.

  44. People are hard to change! Why do we always assume that in-house applications are saffer and more reliable?

    We resist change, but we eventually adopt, and few glitches here and there will be forgotten.