Friday, September 14, 2007

Rethinking SaaS.. rBuilder impacted for 5 hours

Software as a Service (SaaS) is basically taking something you might run locally on a dedicated appliance, server or application and transforming it into a web based service. SaaS is great for some applications, such as this blog. However its bad for things which are risk adverse to downtime and data loss. Although I'd be a bit upset if my blog data was lost! :)

The big thing with SaaS is trust, do you trust the vendor thats providing the service, have they the skills and experience to run a highly available service? In other words, are they "Enterprise Ready" or not.

A business selling server appliances, whether its a hardware / software combination, software appliance or virtual appliance, should really take a close look at where they are doing their development.


Tim Gerla from rPath was kind enough to provide clarification on the outage below. Certain repositories were inaccessible over the course of 5 hours. This was a limited number of repositories. Repositories were read-only for a time. Tim apologized for the confusion regarding their announcement, and I'm sure they will provide more details with future announcements.

Since we always want to be fair and accurate, this update was added, the original posting is below and the title of this entry has been updated to be more accurate.

Thanks Tim!

End Update

For example, if you relied on rPath's rBuilder On-line service, you would have been straight out of luck for 5 hours this afternoon. Around 13:20 EST, rPath announced:

msw: rBO going into maint mode while we work on a db problem

Shortly after Michael Tharp updated the topic to indicate rBuilder Online is currently down for maintenance.

Over 5 hours later around 18:33 EST, rBuilder Online came back up, and Michael Tharp provided a quick update to indicate that it was back online.

A database problem shouldn't cause a 5 hour outage in a properly designed and highly available environment. Makes you wonder if its really ready for the Enterprise or just a nice packaging system alternative for the desktop?


Derrick said...

A business wouldn't rely on rBuilder Online as it isn't an official product of rPath. In other words, a 5 hour outage on rBuilder online wouldn't matter if you are an rPath customer.

If you're hosting an open source project on rBuilder Online, yes, you'll have downtime...sometimes unscheduled.

If you're a customer, you control your own downtime as you would control your OWN rBuilder.

John Buswell said...

Its not officially part of rPath, thats odd, looks pretty official to me from their site and all? :)

Now your OWN rBuilder isn't cheap right, thats why they contract the customers to silence over the pricing right? :)

At least businesses like fastscale are up front about the high price tag for their products.

If the rPath starter kit is $10k, sorry $9995, I can only imagine how how the complete solution is!!