Saturday, May 17, 2008

Downtime Exaggerations Yet Again

I heard twitter and friendfeed went down recently, and there seems to have been some issues with seesmic as well. I think it is too bad that the services went down, but I am able to survive for a few hours without accessing the latest tweets or friendfeed updates (maybe I should get some more friends on those services). I am sure all these companies are striving for uptime but they are going through their growing pains (i.e. hitting bottlenecks in their design, or running into issues out of their control)

The thing that frustrates me is when someone says never touch these services since they are unreliable or beware future downtimes. There was a newsflash on cnet recently about the downtime and unreliability of web 2.0 companies.

When people are complaining about downtime from these services they should think about how reliable their other services are:
a) how often do you face the dreaded blue screen of death on your pc? i am sure the amount of time people spend trying to replace a hard drive and recover files just once is greater than the amount of time they lose because of a web 2.0 app's downtime in a year.
b) do all of your desktop apps run smoothly 24x7?
c) forget about computers, how often do people deal with car trouble or airline delays and waste hours or days trying to get from point a to point b?

Again, I think downtime is disturbing but calling out Web 2.0 explicitly as unreliable is just not right. These companies in many cases are offering free services to consumers (a few of them make a good amount of money), and trying to make people's life better by enabling people to do things they never could have done otherwise. Rather than trying to tear them down, the critiques should try to understand the major challenges they are taking on.

2 comments:

Puneet Thapliyal said...

Great post.

However, I must add that the downtime of Web 2.0 sites would really start to affect once they become "mission critical" for millions of users. For all its glory, I don't think Twitter is mission critical yet.

Miscellaneous Thoughts said...

True, but you can say SAAS is already running mission critical systems (i.e. Salesforce, NetSuite, etc).

The 5 9's uptime is the ultimate goal and companies are getting closer to achieve that. I believe in a recent report your company came out on top with the uptime of their website.