Monthly Archives: October 2010

In SAAS, We Trust

The future is going to be dominated by SAAS, no doubt. But there will always be concerns when doing that transition. For example, would I be able to customize the solution to my needs? Am I going to have a good response time? And so on. This is regarding the concern related to the service level of the SAAS solutions.

I didn’t know till a friend of mine told me that some of the SAAS companies actually provide a status page on the availability of their systems. For example, Google provides a status info for it’s apps, Amazon for it’s web services and Sales force for it’s SAAS solution. I was doing a bit of research on all of this and today I saw something strange.

Salesforce.com has it’s status information at a website aptly named at http://trust.salesforce.com/ where they provide the number of transactions and average response time, the health status of the various servers on a daily basis. This should give a good indication to people considering SAAS solution on what they can expect. That is, if this information can be trusted.

Salesforce.com has a very impressive average response time that is less than 0.3 seconds. For an enterprise application, where many top vendors probably can’t even meet 3 seconds or even more for an on-premise hosted solution, providing a 0.3 seconds response time or less for a multi-tenant model is quite impressive. Of course, in doing so, they prevent doing certain expensive tasks (for example, a while back I checked Salesforce.com didn’t allow “select distinct” in their SQLs).

So, what’s the strange thing I am talking about you ask me? Take a look at this screen capture of their status page.

Salesforce.com System Status (Oct 16, 2010)

What you would notice is, for Oct 16, 2010 (which is the same day as this blog post in PST), the average response time is 147.575 seconds. Isn’t this amusing? As per their updates, they had some performance issues. But how can the average response time go worse by more than a 1000 times? That too, when the number of transactions executed seems to be similar to the trend (compare weekends).

Something is definitely wrong with this picture. I am sure their average response time is probably a lot more better, but if I can’t trust the numbers posted on the trust.salesforce.com, then that’s a problem. Also, if there is a performance issue, they are supposed to have a different icon. As can be seen in the screenshot, their NA6 server is supposed to have had performance degradation, but the icon shows green dot instead of blue dot.

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Filed under SAAS, Salesforce.com

Humble Is Ok, But Obedient?

While I am not actively looking for a job, I like going through the craigslist job postings regularly. In the process I even pass on some of the job posts to friends whom I feel might be interested based on their skills and the job description. In fact, one of the company whose job post I recommended to a friend got acquired by Google (though that friend hasn’t interviewed with them). Anyway, I recently came across a job post for the CTO position by a company called JangoMail. Here is one of their requirement

“Personality

Genius-smart. Communicative. Humble. Hard working. Passionate. Obedient.”

I have seen people wanting very smart people but those who are humble and not be arrogant that they are very smart. Even I prefer down to earth people no matter how smart they are. In fact, many people who are half as smart as they should be for the jobs they do show more than double the arrogance which ticks me off. But what bothered me about this job post is the term Obedient. What? Like the CTO Is going to be a servant or something? In fact, I personally think those managers who want their immediate team members to be obedient are missing the point that the job of their team members is to question your judgment as and when necessary to make sure you and your team is going in the right direction. Otherwise, you just have a bunch of paper pushers. Isn’t it? This reminds me of something I read a while back. I think this happened at Microsoft. When two super smart techie guys were fighting over some technical designs, they couldn’t resolve and went to THE boss. The boss told them, you guys are the best to resolve this technical issue and sent them back and they finally resolved it themselves. Isn’t that wonderful?

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The Annoying “Pending Update”

Say there is an application that allows performing transactions by users. Say that the transactions need to be reviewed at the end of the day to confirm that they are accurate or run through some other audits and finally “post” (confirm) those transactions. In that case, the app has two choices. It can choose to say that some of the data is “pending updates” and not show up to the minute summary or show the up to the minute information as per the transactions with a big foot note that it’s accuracy will be confirmed at the end of the day. Which option would you go with?

For me, I would love to go with the option of showing the summary as up to the minute as possible. However, the big financial company that I use thinks the other way. This is really annoying because I don’t get an accurate picture till the end of the day. Infact, after a stock sale the settlement takes up to 3 business days and during that time the summary information is very useless. It wasn’t a big deal since I hardly trade. But recently I had a few trades in the last few days and it’s a total mess. I have no clue how much cash reserves are there, what my tax implications are etc. I know eventually everything will fall in place, but I want it as of now!

When designing an app, it’s important to see what the end user wants and not just what your internal procedures are. With a lot of consumer facing companies like banks and retailers providing web applications, it’s something to keep in mind.

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Hello Android, Here I Code

I just went through the process of installing Android SDK and Eclipse and did the first Hello Android example. I am one of those guys who like to just use vi editor to do all the coding and seldom use IDEs (they have their advantage, no denial). A few years back when I tried Eclipse, it was never smooth. Too much dependencies among the plugins and invariably something or the other used to fail. But this time around everything went smoothly with Eclipse 3.5. Thus came another Hello World app on the Android Emulator for may be a billionth time.

But a small hickup. The app didn’t run by default. Online search indicated people had to wait for a while for the emulator to load. How can that be the case with a quadcore? Anyway, that wasn’t the problem. So after a while I just started clicking on a few buttons on the side phone display in the emulator. Clicking the “Menu” button started showing the app. Voila. After doing a bit of search, it seems to be the case for at least another person. This is on Max OSX.

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