Intuit, when cloud hits the fan

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First of all, we are a happy Intuit client. As much as I hate Quickbooks and everything Intuit produces, it pales in comparison to dealing with a CPA, IRS, Florida DOR, Dallas Tax Appraisers office, anything in California, and of course the VAT overseas.

However, the sketchiness of cloud operations is something that has to come to an end. In the past 24 hours we’ve seen huge failures in privacy at AT&T and it’s been nearly 24 hours since anything @ Intuit Online has worked. For the past day or so we’ve been trying to figure out why our employees @ Own Web Now have not been paid and have been greeted various Apache errors and then finally this:


You can see further outrage at the Intuit Community.

The Difference Between Cloud and Vapor Promises

The organization I run delivers cloud services.

We have done so for longer than most people and I can tell you, without a slightest shade of pink on my cheek, that everything crashes.


We boast about redundancy, and failover, and clustering, and enterprise software – all of which works – until it breaks.

When it does break, there needs to be a safeguard. I don’t care how much money is spent on redundancy, there always needs to be another system to take over in the middle of a disaster. For some things, you can’t expect it – there is a reason you pay $10/hosting or a few pennies or dollars for a gig of offsite backups. It’s a risk you take.

When you get Exchange 2007 and 2010, or ExchangeDefender from OWN, you know it’s fail tested. It’s been broken in more ways by more people in more countries than anything else. For petes sake, it protects Exchange, the worlds most unstable and outrageously overcomplicated mail server software on the planet.

We know it will fail. So we have LiveArchive. Powered by Exchange 2010. Which itself has failed a ton of times.

But overall, our network has a 100% uptime. If the Exchange hosting fails, ExchangeDefender LiveArchive is there. If the LiveArchive fails, Exchange hosting is there. We do it because it is mission critical.

If you buy or sell network services, the difference between mission critical and everyday software is indistinguishable – you have no idea how much you rely on something until you’ve lost it. So take a moment of sitting in your despair and anger and plan for what happens the next time you see the cloud vendor take you down.