There is a lot of talk going around about BlackBerry Business Cloud Services on various blogs: Paul Farris’ Blog Volker Weber’s blog
First, let me say, unless you work(ed) for Microsoft or RIM, this is totally irrelevant and transparent. BlackBerry support has been available with Office365 for years. The big deal here is that RIM finally finished their cloud solution which was code-named “Contrail”. This has been long in the making. It’s not insider news, it’s just that few people noticed it when n4bb.com published it back in March 2011.
All it means is that instead of those BES servers sitting in Microsoft’s data centers, they will be sitting in RIM’s data centers. So what’s the big deal? It’s all in the cloud, so you don’t care where the servers sit. What’s more, this doesn’t really apply to all of Office365, only the standard edition for smaller customers. The bigger customers are hosted in dedicated environments and they won’t be moving their BES services for awhile. But it doesn’t matter. You won’t notice any difference and the transition is completely invisible to the customer, save that as it is RIM’s product, they will probably be more responsive to upgrades to the latest version and more savvy in troubleshooting issues. This is really more a positive press opportunity than anything for a company overdue for some good news.
If there were anything even mildly interesting in this story it would be that Domino isn’t mentioned. But I expect that’s just around the corner and they probably don’t want to confuse the message. If your company uses Exchange, you don’t care about Domino. (By the way, LotusLive AKA Smart Cloud also supports BES deployments) This will also give RIM a second press release of glory when they make a similar announcement for Domino.
As a BlackBerry Deployment Engineer for Microsoft’s Office 365 cloud service, I am sometimes privy to confidential information. In this case, I will leak to you that RIM had a huge BlackBerry service outage this week. OK, so maybe you already heard that. While the root cause analysis (RCA) will take time to complete all the details, they did report that it came down to a network switch failed and the backup did not take over as expected. The result caused a cascade of system failures. Right now it sucks to be RIM. And it is easy to sit back and admonish RIM for not having been better prepared. I’m sure they will learn from this mistake. When I was growing up, as my parents sent me off to school, they would always say “Have a great day and make lots of mistakes!” Why? Because they knew that we all learn from our mistakes. Since then I have come to a new conclusion: I can’t afford to make all the mistakes I need to learn. So I have adopted a new philosophy:
If Intelligence is the ability to learn from your mistakes, then Wisdom is the ability to learn from the mistakes of others.
In this case, I really don’t want to make the same mistake RIM made. So what can we learn from RIM’s mistake? When it comes to the most critical systems, have multiple redundancies, not just one backup system as was the case at RIM. Cave divers always have 3 systems to keep them alive. Medical systems often have 3 redundant systems. Football teams have third string players for key positions. The space shuttle had 3 to 5 redundancies for those most critical systems! Murphy’s Law states “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” and one of the many corollaries states “Everything goes wrong at once.”
Take a moment to learn from RIM’s mistake. For your most critical of mission-critical systems, have multiple redundancies. If it is a hard sell to management, just point them to Black(Berry) Monday, October 10, 2011.