While satire on the Internet is rare – which is a shame, since there are few modes of human expression more deserving of being mocked than many of those found on the Internet – in the technology world, it's practically unknown. While the marvelous satire site The Onion angles for a Pulitzer Prize, virtual reams of blogs, articles, advice columns, wikis, question and answer pages and message boards are churned out in the tech world every day, with a nary bit of genuine satire (though lots of ANGRY, PORLY-SPELLED MESSAGES IN ALL CAPS).
It was therefore delightful to find this blog post by CRM analyst Lauren Carlson. In it Carlson reveals that the techno-realm is shocked – shocked! – to hear that CompATX, a global provider of enterprise computing systems, experienced a major failure of its on-premise customer relationship management (CRM) system this morning.
CompATX, of course, doesn't really exist. And no one should ever be shocked that a premise-based system should crash and burn, leaving the employees who use it with nothing to do but Tweet ominously that all they can do is wait for a technician. Helplessly. While listening to Journey's “Don't Stop Believin'” on the vendor's hold music system.
Carlson's satirical post would appear to be targeted toward those who somehow find the five nine – or 99.999 percent – uptime of cloud-based enterprise solutions somehow “unreliable,” leading them to choose old-fashioned premise-based software. (And hardware, and cabling, and high electric bills, and teams of IT personnel and a help desk and a trouble-shooting department and bills from systems integrators and high license fees and painful updates and patches and sub-arctic server rooms.) Criticizing cloud-based solutions as somehow more prone to downtime, despite their numerous benefits, suggests that somehow premise-based solutions are more reliable. And anyone who has worked for a technology company (or any company at all, for that matter) knows this is nonsense.
Of course, high-profile outages like those experienced in the past by Salesforce.com (News - Alert) and others don't help. But then...in years past, when the on-premise systems of companies like the fictional CompATX went down, it didn't exactly make the headlines. The centralized nature of cloud-based applications means, of course, that outages will be far more visible, though hardly more common.
“I probably shouldn’t be discussing this, but this isn’t the first crash we’ve had. It’s just the first one that’s been leaked. This system’s about as stable as Greek debt,” said one CompATX sales manager who asked to remain nameless since he is not authorized to speak to the press.
Lester McGee, CEO of CompATX, spoke adamantly during a 2010 talk at a local Rotary Club, saying, “I went to Harvard Business School in 1939. Back then, clouds were just puffs in the sky, and that’s all they are now. I don’t trust my business with something that’s floating around in the air,” says McGee.
So is, as Ms. Carlson's article suggests, the future of on-premise computing in jeopardy?
We can only hope.
Tracey Schelmetic is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Tracey's articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Rich Steeves