Okta hits new cloud reliability milestone

The cloud-based identity management firm is officially promising all of its customers 99.99 percent uptime, which should help its efforts to grow its base of large enterprise customers.

Okta, the cloud-based identity management firm, said Thursday that it can officially promise all of its customers 99.99 percent uptime at no additional cost. While the high level of cloud reliability will benefit all customers, it should help Okta in its efforts to grow its enterprise business. 

"It's something large organizations, as they move more of their infrastructure to the cloud, are going to expect," Okta COO Frederic Kerrest said to ZDNet. It can be especially critical for customer ID management, in cases such as e-commerce. "If they're down for even a minute, that can be millions of dollars" in losses. 

Okta's first quarter results demonstrated how its focus on large enterprises has been paying off. The company, which posted earnings and sales above expectations, added 113 customers in the quarter with an annual contract value greater than $100,000 in the first quarter. Okta now has nearly 1,600 $100,000-plus customers. 

The cloud company has also seen its customers accelerate their shift to the cloud during the COVID-19 pandemic. The current, increased reliance on digital infrastructure for sales makes high reliability even more important. 

"If you are a company that's been around 100 years and all of a sudden you have to triple your e-commerce... that could be a very daunting task," Kerrest said. "We're trying to make at least identity a simple part of that."

Kerrest said the new reliability promise is the result of building a resilient architecture stack from the ground up. Okta has built redundancy into its system, both within and across regions, he said, it's carefully instrumented its monitoring. 

"99.99 percent uptime means there are going to be bumps in the road, whether it's software challenges, hardware challenges, network challenges, or ... someone accidentally driving a back hoe into a major fiber line running into an AWS data center -- those things happen," Kerrest said. "When it does, you have to make sure... that you have a finely-tuned machine so any of those bumps can be automatically adjusted for."

Okta was also designed for zero downtime upgrades, so offering an assurance of high service reliability was a natural next step.