As many of you may already know by reading my blogs, I am not only the co-founder of StatusCast, but also a co-founder of another successful Software as a Service company. For years we built and maintained our own set of server racks in a hosted environment. Due to the nature of our solution, it is critical that the uptime availability for this other company is stellar. In fact, it has maintained 99.98% or greater for over 10 years.
Uptime Availability: Crucial to Business
My other company decided not only to rely on one uptime monitoring company, but two, since uptime availability is so crucial to our business. We currently use Pingdom and BinaryCanary. These system dashboard tools are great because they alert our IT and DevOps to impending doom before it can affect our customers. However, once we receive an alert, we then need to figure out if there is an issue with our servers, applications, databases, various hardware components (load balances, firewalls, etc.) or if it is actually a problem downstream.
One of our primary data centers is located on the East Coast. The hosting provider we use doesn’t have an easily accessible application status page. They have some type of Support Management Console, but it hardly acts as a business intelligence dashboard, rarely communicating what we need for our business, and there is no easy way for us to get the data we need fast enough.
There have been several times over the years where the staff of my other company was first to alert this hosting provider that a problem existed, and even then getting proper system updates from them on the reported issue was more than brutal. Downstream issues can’t always be caught with as much advance notice as your classic application monitoring services so it makes good sense to ensure that your hosting provider feeds you uptime information as well.
Uptime Transparency is Vital to Our Brand
Uptime transparency is vital to our brand and the trusting relationship we have with our customers, as it should be for all SaaS companies. The problem is that the hosting provider we use doesn’t seem to want to help us out, so we’ve been rapidly migrating our customer base over to Microsoft Azure. This is no small feat either because major portions of our application needed to be rewritten, none-the-less we feel a hosting company worth its weight needs a system status dashboard. Check out how Microsoft displays their uptime: http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/support/service-dashboard/
StatusCast is in the process of integrating the status feeds of several top hosting providers. If your choosing a hosting provider, and they do not provide this data, you should demand it or go elsewhere. For anyone considering StatusCast to assist them in creating their customer facing system status page, let me know as we’ll be more than happy to build out an integration from your hosting provider’s system dashboard (or even provide the dashboard for your hosting provider – as we can key off our own dashboards as well). Remember, if your hosting company doesn’t have an accessible system status application page, they aren’t only failing you, but the customers (or end-users) that put their trust in your company.
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