RightNow crows about open source uptime

On-demand customer service software maven RightNow just can’t help putting the boot into rival salesforce.com while it’s got the chance. A spokesperson told me that it was not its intention to sling mud at the comeptition, but you have to admit that the timing of RightNow’s news, which happens to coincide with news of some outages over at salesforce.com, is a little suspicious.

Salesforce.com has suffered a number of well publicised outages to its service in the past few months, so it is a good time for RightNow to be highlighting the fact that it had 99.98% uptime in 2005 – and guess what, it puts that down to open source.

“This enterprise-class reliability was achieved using highly redundant, highly scalable open source hosting infrastructure that kept unscheduled downtime at less than ten minutes per month in 2005,” said RightNow.

Rival salesforce.com runs its service on Oracle’s Database 10g and the Oracle Grid Computing platform – an obvious choice really since the Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff used to work for Oracle’s Ellison. But the outage with salesforce.com’s service that it suffered just before Christmas was apparently down to a problem with an Oracle database cluster on one of its four nodes.

Whatever the cause, RightNow puts its own claimed uptime down to its open source hosting infrastructure and management tools. Apparently RightNow runs the open source MySQL database. To be fair though we are talking about somewhat different workloads – RightNow says it has 1,400 customers, while salesforce.com claims to have 18,700.

The customer claims are supported by the difference in their sales figures, too. But their quarterly sales also highlight the fact that salesforce.com’s average revenue per customer is far lower than RightNow’s. Though salesforce.com has over ten times the number of customers of RightNow, it has only around three times the revenue. In its latest quarter RightNow posted sales of $24.6m and net income of $3.0m; salesforce.com’s latest quarter saw sales of $82.7m and net income of $13.1m.

Aaaanyway, if you think RightNow is chucking dirt in salesforce.com’s general direction – even unintentionally – you want to see what another of its rivals, Salesnet has been up to. Its home page currently says it will help you “Learn why Salesnet is the ‘no bull’ alternative to salesforce.com.” You can even download a ‘white paper’ that lists the “10 weaknesses of salesforce.com”. All you have to do to get the so-called ‘white paper’ – and this is the really clever bit – is give them your contact details, location, number of employees and so on. Whatever could they want those for?

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