Salesforce.com crashes again

Salesforce.com had a widespread outage on Monday, the second time in recent weeks the on-demand service provider has suffered a serious crash.

Salesforce.com's hosted CRM (customer relationship management) service had a widespread outage on Monday, the second time in recent weeks the on-demand software provider has suffered a serious crash.

Anecdotal customer reports suggest Salesforce.com's service was intermittent much of the day, and the company's system status page acknowledged "system performance issues" in the afternoon. When Salesforce.com revived its service, its API (application programming interface) remained disabled for several hours longer, inconveniencing customers with customizations that rely on that interface.

Salesforce.com representatives were not immediately available for comment.

Salesforce.com's problems follow a December outage that knocked its service offline for most of a day, a glitch the company blamed on errors in its database clusters. Customers criticized the vendor for its sluggish acknowledgement of about the problem -- it took Salesforce.com more than a day to publicly post information about the outage. In response, the company created a system status update page that customers paying for premium support services can access.

Salesforce.com, in San Francisco, has 350,000 subscribers for its hosted sales management software service. Continued outages could be a customer-relations disaster for the company, First Albany analyst Mark Murphy warned in a research note about Monday's problems.

"This morning's outage is apparently leading to more aggravated customer and prospect responses, as from their perspective the outage experience has transitioned from an isolated event into a recurring trend and the 'get out of jail free' card has been used," Murphy wrote during the outage.

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