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Salesforce.com 'aggressively investigating' database error

Salesforce.com has long used Oracle under the hood, but is also embracing other database technologies

Salesforce.com is "aggressively investigating" a database software error that led to temporary performance problems in part of its infrastructure.

The performance degradation cropped up early Wednesday in Salesforce.com's NA12 zone and resolved shortly thereafter, according to a notice on the vendor's public system monitoring website.

Technicians determined that "the issue was isolated to a database software error, which caused a portion [of] the NA12 database tier to stop servicing requests," according to the site. "The affected portion of the database tier was temporarily removed from service and normal performance was restored."

Now, Salesforce.com's teams are "aggressively investigating the database software errors with the vendor," the notice adds. While the vendor wasn't named, Salesforce.com has long used Oracle's database as a core part of its infrastructure. Salesforce.com couldn't immediately be reached for comment on Wednesday.

Salesforce.com's system also experienced some database-related performance issues on Tuesday, according to other notices on the Trust site.

One problem concerned "an index creation process which caused resource contention on the NA4 database tier," the site states. Another problem that affected the NA9 database tier cropped up due to "an unexpected fault with our database code," Salesforce.com said.

Both issues were resolved quickly, according to the monitoring site.

There has been speculation Salesforce.com is interested in migrating away from Oracle, either in whole or in part.

The company has certainly made moves that suggest as much. For one thing, it has started contributing to the Apache HBase project. In addition, last year Salesforce.com announced it would hire around 50 people to work on a "huge PostgreSQL project." Salesforce.com's acquisition of Heroku also gave it Postgres-based database technology.

"The time isn't that far out when NoSQL and NewSQL systems will match or surpass Oracle's practical reliability for scale-out applications," said analyst Curt Monash of Monash Research. "They may already beat Oracle on planned downtime. Superiority in unplanned downtime is on its way as well. But for now, Oracle's much greater maturity somewhat outweighs the newer products' simpler architectures."

"Anyhow, it's been obvious for several years that Salesforce.com wants to move away from Oracle, plans to move away from Oracle, and is indeed moving away from Oracle," Monash added. "But it doesn't seem to be in a great hurry to finish the job."

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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