New Release? Delayed!

Today, on Salesforce 15 years birthday, I received an email from Salesforce concerning their decision to delay the release of Salesforce Spring ’14.

Salesforce Product & Service Notification

At salesforce.com, ensuring customer success through trusted system availability, performance, and reliability is our top priority. We’ve made the decision to postpone the rollout of the Spring ’14 release with these priorities in mind.
We’ve decided to reschedule the release to resolve a performance issue we identified after releasing to the first production instance. We are in the process of finalising the new Spring ’14 release upgrade windows and will be able to share that schedule no later than Tuesday, March 11, 2014. For more information and details, please visit trust.salesforce.com.
We know how critical our services are to your business, and we’re working hard to make sure we deliver a Spring ’14 release that meets our standards in quality and performance. We’re deeply sorry for any inconvenience this may cause you and your business.

We will continue to make your success our top priority and are working harder than ever to earn your trust every day.

Some competitors or cloud-adverse companies were fast to point at the news as a big failure to deliver. Twitter was also the scene of a public debate on the subject.

Spring 14 delay mentioned on Twitter

Competitors or cloud-adverse companies were fast to point at the news as a big failure to deliver.

What Salesforce is doing is being ultra cautious and trying to avoid issues from the past (Winter ’14 was, in my opinion, the first buggy release). By recognising that they have difficulties with this release they are making a responsible call to guarantee the highest standard of quality. The software industry is well-known for releasing as early as possible to get the cash in first, then fix whatever is identified as half-baked via patching. This is a dated delivery model.

So, let me show you why Salesforce's move is not a sign of weakness of its infrastructure but the proof in the pudding that they are a "Customer Company"...

Testing In Known Environment

Whenever Spring ’14 is released (date yet to be confirmed), its behaviour will have been fully tested on a controlled set of computing configurations.
Releasing a traditional software (read "off the shelf personal CD-ROM" or "on-premise enterprise application") is always bringing a tonne of bad surprises. Considering the high number of mother boards, BIOS versions, hardware components, OS versions and drivers versions combinations, there's no way any traditional software vendor can fully test their product before selling it. This is why all traditional software has bugs! The traditional software industry business model relies on patching to address this very issue:

  • Software is released
  • Customers install it on their configuration
  • Some customers will hit bugs and report them
  • The vendor fixes the bug and releases a patch or a new version of their software.

All traditional software have bugs!

So, that's something which is not going to happen with Salesforce, nor any public cloud vendor for the matter. There is not an unknown number of configuration combination the software will be running on. The number of combinations is a known figure and is, at most, the total number of servers in Salesforce's datacentres. When automated tests are run on all of these machines, the new code is fully validated!

Knowing Your Customer's Code

The other thing is that Salesforce has access to their customer code. As a result, they and can smoke test it on their servers. This won't tell them if the business logic is working as expected but at least that it works in the new version as it was in the previous version. Beat this Mr SAP!

Delayed Shipment

So, in the end, and for whatever the reason for the delay is, this is a great demonstration of the power of SaaS! The vendor has the capability to identify a quality issue and rather than releasing a low-quality new version, they delay and target a close to no-bug delivery.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Don't hesitate to ping me on Twitter if you have any comment or question. Bye for now!

Fab 🐸