July 12, 2012 – Salesforce.com resolved a persistent performance problem at one of its North American data centers Thursday, days after first reports of the CRM provider’s second service disruption in as many weeks.

Seven of Salesforce.com’s 38 SaaS outlets, or “instances,” were marked as having experienced disrupted service at various points stretching from 1:30 p.m. ET Tuesday until the early hours of Wednesday, according to the Salesforce.com system status dashboard. Scheduled maintenance to one of the vendor’s West Coast data centers led to an unexpected power outage, which “introduced a number of problems, particularly within our database and search storage tiers.”

“Standard procedures for restoring service to the storage devices were not successful and additional time was necessary to engage the respective vendors to further troubleshoot and ensure data integrity,” Salesforce.com reported.

Core applications and features were restored within a few hours, according to the system site, though the NA1 instance continued to experience “performance degradation” on Thursday afternoon. Following a workaround that impacted the search functionality for a small number of customers, Salesforce.com declared the performance issue resolved as of 2:05 p.m. ET. The root cause of those performance issues – as well as the impact or number of customers – is an ongoing source of investigation, according to Salesforce.com.

A Salesforce.com spokesperson on Thursday offered no further update on the disruptions or when another announcement may be made, and said all additional details would be found on the CRM vendor’s system status page.

A storage hardware issue at another one of its North American hubs led to service disruptions for up to six hours for some customers in late June. That led to performance issues and inspections at approximately half of its service hubs, including the NA1 instance involved in Tuesday’s disruption.

Liz Herbert, principal analyst at Forrester Research, says enterprises should monitor system status sites when looking for a provider as a point of vendor transparency as well as historical performance. It’s also a reminder that clients should look into comparisons with internal IT downtime or complete application outsourcing, says Herbert.

“We always encourage clients to consider how a SaaS vendor compares with alternatives,” says Herbert.

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