In May I wrote about The Downside of SaaS, where I was working a client event using WebEx Event Center and they lost the server we were on, causing great commotion and panic on our side before getting things running again. I chalked it up to one of those rare but unavoidable glitches that occasionally occurs when you use technology.
But here it is two months later and the same thing happened today. Another client event on WebEx Event Center. I log in thirty minutes early as the host to set things up and I can't get start our session. Tech support does things in the background for a long time and five minutes before the scheduled event time suggests that we tell our attendees to use a different login URL (a long one, including parameter values) to get them onto a backup server. I don't hold out much hope for reading off long URLs over a telephone line and hoping that everyone will write them down and enter them by hand correctly.
In the meantime, both panelists and attendees see a screen that says simply "Event In Progress." Not very helpful. Except for the people who were caught somewhere in the middle of the server switchover. They can't log in at all. I got emails from attendees saying that some of them spent 20 to 30 minutes on the phone with WebEx tech support with no satisfactory resolution and were never able to join our session. Eventually the backup server kicked in and we were able to start our event less than ten minutes late.
I don't know what is going on with the WebEx data center, but I am astonished that as a single user, running a limited number of events under completely separate client accounts I should hit two half-hour downtimes in two months, directly impacting our audience and their user experience. If that's what I'm seeing at random times, how often is the server going down over there?
To quote Ricky Ricardo... "Lucy? You got some 'splainin to do!"