Outage of critical systems shows a hybrid web-desktop approach is still the best

Outage of critical systems shows a hybrid web-desktop approach is still the best

Summary: Gmail pulled a fail whale and a number of people are talking about how their productivity was damaged. Systems are going to go down, it's a fact of life.

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Gmail pulled a fail whale and a number of people are talking about how their productivity was damaged. Systems are going to go down, it's a fact of life. What's important is to be prepared when those systems go down which is a major reason that some kind of offline access should be built into systems like email. In theory we'll reach a time when the cloud really is always on, but we're not close and it may never happen.

When a company like Google, which has a ton of redundancy built in, or Amazon S3, has issues, we've got to have applications and systems that let us continue to work. And Google has a built-in solution for people with Gears. So why haven't they rolled it out yet? Because synchronization is a really, really hard problem. And I think that problem is what prevents a lot of services like Gmail like incorporating offline functionality. The web needs to focus on solving synchronization so that outages like these don't have to affect productivity like they do currently.

Topics: Cloud, Browser, Collaboration, Google, Outage

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6 comments
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  • synchronization is NOT a really, really, hard problem

    IBM's Lotus Notes has had synchronization/ replication between desktop and server, and between servers, running reliabily since 1989...
    sj_z
    • RE: synchronization is NOT a really, really, hard problem

      Just because they've been doing it for a long time doesn't make it not a hard problem.
      ryanstewart
  • RE: Outage of critical systems shows a hybrid web-desktop approach is still the best

    Offline/Desktop Sync is a somewhat manageable problem as long as all components are from the same product/vendor and starts getting hairy once that boundary is crossed and other external components are interacting as well.

    I believe that personal backup will be a niche OnDemand area that is going to evolve over the next few years and companies realize that putting everything in the cloud means outages and loss of productivity. Just like power outages, enterprises and individuals will have to create their own backup strategies depending on the risk/loss involved in the outage.

    Another thing that comes to mind is that this need not involve the desktop as the backup itself could be in the cloud if you're trying to insulate yourself from just application outages and not N/W outages.
    Darayush
    • RE: RE: Outage of critical systems shows a hybrid web-desktop approach is s

      That's a good point. And you're right, as you cross to different vendors the problem becomes more of a pain.
      ryanstewart
  • RE: Outage of critical systems shows a hybrid web-desktop approach is still

    We at Content Circles can't agree more. We solved this
    problem and launched a beta last week. Check us out at
    www.contentcircles.com. Our solution uses Adobe AIR as
    well as Sun Java, so is completely cross platform (we
    currently support both Mac and Windows).
    Sri Chilukuri
    • RE: RE: Outage of critical systems shows a hybrid web-desktop approach is s

      Thanks for the tip! Checking it out now.
      ryanstewart