Salesforce CEO calls site outages unavoidable

cnet Chief Executive Marc Benioff said on Tuesday that a recent site outage was an embarrassment for his company, but that new technology will soon make its systems more resilient. The Dec. 20, 2005, outage cut many companies off from critical data for hours on a busy, pre-holiday business day. It also called into question how well Salesforce, which stores customer and sales records for thousands of businesses, is holding up under rapid growth. Benioff, who has not commented much about the incident publicly, said in an interview at a San Francisco media event that outages are an inevitable part of computing and that they happen very rarely at Salesforce.

"We don't want outages and we're doing everything we can not to have them, but we'll occasionally have them," he said. "That's part of computing...nothing runs at 100 percent availability." Salesforce, based in San Francisco, claims an availability or "uptime" rate of between 99 percent and 100 percent. Yet a handful of customers that complained to CNET about the Dec. 20 glitch said smaller, less disruptive outages occur more frequently than they anticipated.