Australian company, Australian Online Solutions, has a unique application sitting out on the web today. It's called TrustSaaS and it is a Software as a Service Application uptime monitoring, alerting and reporting solution. How's your SaaS app doing today?
Independent Monitoring for your SaaS Apps
Launched in early July, the site is referred to as a SaaS "Weather Report", letting you know how a number of SaaS applications are doing. Note that this is third-party monitoring.
According to company Founder and CTO Sam Johnston, "TrustSaaS was created to fill a void in the cloud computing ecosystem and as a demonstration of the reliability of SaaS and cloud computing in general." Since we are becoming so much more interested and reliant on these types of applications and services, a service like this enables SaaS users to know for sure how reliable their SaaS apps are. Provider List
Basically it works by checking the status of a particular service every 60 seconds (over 500,000 times per service per year). The monitoring itself is free to anyone who goes to the TrustSaaS website.
You can click on an individual application to view details of a particular provider. It's interesting that these detailed views are actually coming from Pingdom which makes you wonder why you wouldn't just go to these guys directly for your monitoring. Activity Status
So we asked Johnston about the Pingdom relationship. He told us that although his company Australian Online Solutions has been providing customized monitoring software services for their enterprise customers since 1998, they decided that instead of migrating all their back-end systems to the web, that they would build their solution on top of the Pingdom platform.
Their focus then became adding value to that service via the front-end and the monitors themselves. Johnston refers to the TrustSaaS service as a "loosely couple mashup" which means that even if the TrustSaaS website went down, monitoring and alerting would still continue. Daily Status Johnston told us via email that they initially planned to monitor business applications like Salesforce and Google Apps, but added some consumer apps after their soft launch -- Twitter, Facebook -- because many business are using these as well. This decision was based on user feedback and "We also felt that this was a useful community service to provide, particularly in light of some recent high profile outages."
Premium Subscriber Benefits
If you want to be alerted to trouble though, you have to become a premium subscriber. Subscribers to the TrustSaaS service are notified of issues for a particular SaaS service via email and/or SMS. In addition, monthly reports are sent via email to subscribers. Subscription is on a per provider basis (i.e Google Apps, Twitter) and will run you US$ 100.00/per provider per year.
Provider States Displayed
There are three different status a provider can be in at any given time:
* Up: Responding appropriately and in a timely fashion
* Down: Failing to respond appropriately or at all when tested from two or more geographically separate probe servers
* Unknown: The service is not yet configured or monitoring information is for some reason (typically temporarily) not available
How SaaS Apps are Monitored
They list a number of approaches to monitoring an application, some of which include:
* Calling up a page and looking for a login form
* Authenticating a test user (i.e. Gmail)
* Completing the TCP 3-way handshake
In many cases, they've set up test accounts/applications to help determine a services availability.
The company has a lot of expertise in web applications and this knowledge has enabled them to "test all layers of an application (unlike our competitors we usually check for a cryptographic cookie which will not be present in the response if the database or any layer above it fails)."
Downtime is always confirmed by checking from two different monitoring locations Monitoring locations are found in the US, Sweden, England, Canada and Holland.
Is Third Party Monitoring Stable?
The TrustSaaS monitoring service has been mentioned on Programmable Web and Ziipa -- a Web 2.0 directory. It's currently in beta and although it appears some people are happy there's a service like this out there, we aren't seeing much news on it and how it's been doing so far.
That may be because there has been no official press release as of yet. They have, however, been surprised by the response they have received so far -- although he wouldn't provide us with official user counts.
Johnston has indicated that plans to take the product out of beta are underway in the next few months. At that time, we will get more details on final pricing. We'll try to keep you updated on how this service progresses -- at time when SaaS and cloud computing are on the tip of everyone's tongue, this should be a service that proves successful.