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Addressing the Recent Outage

3/18/2013

When you choose a research tool, it is important that it is constantly improving. That is why at Dedoose we conduct basic maintenance and minimal upgrades, updates, and fixes regularly. It is extremely rare for this to cause disruption to our users. This week, however, the services we use to keep Dedoose running experienced trouble that caused two outages leaving some of our users unable to log-in. The frustration over these issues is completely warranted. The online nature of Dedoose allows for collaborative properties that are the best in the field, so we know that staying connected to your team and data in Dedoose is key.

So, what happened?

This week our work was influenced by other services we use to keep Dedoose running. When they went down, so did Dedoose. These disruptions were completely unexpected and our engineering team was on the job as fast as possible.

Some people have asked for a 100% guarantee that there will never be another outage. While we would love to offer such assurances, we do not make it a practice to mislead or lie to our users.  We cannot (and won’t) guarantee that we will never again have an outage. It is not something that any web based application can guarantee at 100%. Even the largest, safest apps can go down from time to time.

Our commitment

We are committed to a 99.95% up-time per calendar year. That is our Service Level Agreement (SLA).  We take this SLA very seriously. It is the agreement we have with our users and we are committed to holding up our end of the bargain. We have never gone below this level and we work hard to make sure that we never will.

What we promise to you today is a commitment to keeping these issues at bay by consistently updating our servers, partnering with the best companies to service us, and growing our support capacity to meet the needs of our users. What we can do is more. Dedoose is a dedicated team and we all agree that more is what you deserve.

And, what now?

There is no excuse for those of you who went without access to your data…regardless of the time Dedoose services were unavailable. So, we will not make excuses. We will instead let you know what we are going to do differently moving forward.

Immediate changes:

Increasing our response time. Aligned with our commitment to providing information in a timely manner and in light of recent outages we have put new systems in place to improve response time to any future event. When an outage occurs we will email all active users and post updates to Facebook and Twitter.

Giving you advanced notice via email and social media announcing all planned maintenance or service interruptions. Generally, we give advanced notice for major upgrades, but are able to conduct minor updates without causing any problems for our users. And there will be times when there are short outages – whether caused by our system, or by a servicer we use.

*****The first of these messages will go out today so you can mark your calendars. We will be taking Dedoose offline for maintenance this Wednesday, March 20th for 2 hours starting at 10:00PM Pacific Standard Time. To ensure minimal disruption to all users we will be taking Dedoose offline to conduct this maintenance.

New Cloud based solution. We are well on our way to transitioning Dedoose to a new cloud solution that will provide superior performance for all users. We have been working on this major undertaking since October and are nearing completion. This new solution will allow for greater reliability, performance, and future scalability as the Dedoose user community is growing quite rapidly.

Long term changes:

We heard requests via email and social media for an offline version of Dedoose. We recognize that there are benefits for offline capabilities in tandem with the collaborative power of Dedoose online. We decided to put this idea on the table at the end of last year and listed it as part of our development plan in our New Year’s Blog.

We are committed to offering an offline version of Dedoose. That said, it is a major undertaking that rivals the scope of creating the online version of Dedoose. We do not yet have a hard timeline to announce. We will give updates as necessary. Our very aggressive goal is to have a soft version of a read-only offline feature in its initial stage by the end of this year. Stay tuned!

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