Where Is the Volvo of SaaS?
When portions of Salesforce.com went dark earlier today, The VAR Guy started to wonder: Will there ever be a Volvo-type company in the SaaS (software as a service) market? Will a SaaS company ever aggressively promote its safety and reliability? Or will occasional outages and painful crashes remain the norm for some SaaS companies and their customers? Before you answer consider several recent events…
Many of the leading SaaS and cloud providers, it seems, have suffered outages in recent weeks and months.
The hit-list includes:
- Salesforce.com’s January 8 4, 2010 outage, which impacted thousands of customers.
- An extended Blackberry smart phone service outage on Dec. 22, 2009.
- Rackspace experienced an outage on Dec. 18, 2009, though the company says it was limited.
- A brief Amazon Web Services data center outage on Dec. 10, 2009.
- A 30-minute Microsoft Bing outage in early December 2009.
- A multi-day Microsoft outage in December 2009 that impacted some VARs and resellers.
- A Microsoft-related Sidekick outage in October 2009 that has prompted lawsuits.
All those outages beg plenty of questions. But here’s a central one: If big, well-funded technology companies suffer outages, how can small VARs and MSPs (managed service providers) expect to deliver world-class SaaS reliability on their own?
Honk If You’re Reliable
Hmmm… The VAR Guy doesn’t have an answer to that riddle. But he does wonder: Will there ever be a Volvo in the SaaS market — a SaaS-centric company that builds its reputation around data safety, data reliability and customer protection?
In the auto industry, Volvo has built its brand around safety since around 1944. But in the SaaS market, branding around safety and reliability could be more difficult. All it would take is one outage to destroy brand equity built around reliabilty.
Don’t misread The VAR Guy: He built his own business on SaaS. And generally speaking, he trusts cloud computing. But he’s seeking an easier way to identify the most reliable SaaS companies in the industry. Is there a Volvo parked within the SaaS crowd?