Sunday, January 20, 2008

the 35-hours server

It turns out that, in the Public Sector, not even servers can be made to work outside office hours: I just tried to file online our accounts at Companies House, and I was unable to do so; not because of a sudden outage (regrettable, but it happens) but because they do not offer the service at weekends and between midnight and 7am.

I seriously tried to think of a plausible reason why it is so. I failed.

If anyone can think up of a good reason (technical or otherwise) why an online service should not run 24/7 can you please get in touch and take me out of my misery?

I work for Google - we consider it a serious downtime anything longer than a few minutes per year in one of our many data centers (users would barely be affected as the request would be instantaneously re-routed to another center - ok, maybe adding the odd millisecond) and, let's face it, for all the grand-standing about changing the world, we do not handle matters such as Company accounts and Directorship and share filing - were we to do so, I'm sure we would flinch at a few seconds downtime (planned or unplanned - it just wouldn't do).

But, hey, Her Majesty's Companies House thinks it is all good and well to be out of reach for about 100 hours each week - after all, those underlings can wait, can't they?