Can you live with mission critical applications disappearing for a week?

Consider your vulnerabilities to a software vendor disappearing overnight.

I changed RSS readers for a third time this week. They keep shutting down on me.

As an active blogger, reading a lot of blogs therefore access to news sources is mission critical. Well, I suppose I choose to make it mission critical – it’s a big deal for me.

Substitute your mission critical applications for my reliance on RSS feed and you can think through an assessment of how vulnerable you are to vendors just going away.

(Cross-posted from my other blog, Nonprofit Update. Think about your tax software or audit software as you read this post.)

On Monday Bloglines disappeared. That has been my RSS feed for quite a while. I thought, might be a server problem. Maybe a software upgrade that failed. Down lines somewhere. I can live with that for a little bit.

A cool site, Is It Down Right Now, verified the site was dead in the water.

On Wednesday did some poking around and found a writer who said has apparently shut down. tried to reach the company and got no reply. He saw some indications that the servers were no more. Disappeared. Gone. Failed during the night.

Well, time to make a change. Saw a hint that recovery of the list of feeds (stored in an OMPL file) was still possible. I quickly grabbed a backup since my previous backup was, um, six months old.

Only thing I really lost was links to half a dozen articles that I wanted to write about. Oh well.

I gathered some more articles and looked at a few providers. Decided to take the backward step of using an application that runs off my computer instead of a web-based service. It queries the websites on command and stores some portion of the posts on my machine. Yes, yes, I know I’m going backwards.

I’m using QuiteRSS. Got it up and running on Wednesday afternoon. Imported the backup OPML file perfectly. It was an easier transition than Bloglines. Have been happy with QuiteRSS for the last two days. It has a few features new to me that I really like.

Then this morning I saw a tweet that Bloglines is up and running. Checked the site and sure enough, it is functioning.

So it was down from early Monday through early Friday. Is It Down Right Now indicates the site actually came back up on Thursday evening about 7 pm (not sure what time zone that is).

Decision time for me.

Do I go back to Bloglines, with now having a track record of disappearing with no notice or explanation afterwards, or do I go with a package running off my machine?

After having been dumped three times by different providers, think I will go with the more reliable program running off my PC.

Here’s the million dollar question:

  • What will you do if one of the major services you use to run your business or ministry just disappears in the middle of the day?

Related questions:

  • How will you recover?
  • Do you have current backup of the data?
  • How long can you function without mission-critical services or even mission-really-important services?
  • What major services do you use for which you need to think about recovery, backup of data, and alternative providers?

Previous articles:

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

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