SFDC outage — Can one really “test” packaged software

Apparently SDFC went down for a few hours on 11 February…

Salesforce.com’s release testing process is broken. Testing should have caught these problems before they were released into the wild.

OK, testing “should have…” is a truism.  But don’t we forget what inherently complex machines packaged enterprise software are?  Once configured and filled with data, aren’t they virtual (and often real-time) models of flesh-and-blood business.  These aren’t trivial exercises in coding.

My position is that any packaged software with complex features and many customers is almost impossible to test exhaustively before release.  Thousands of transactions, tens of thousands of tables (some with many million records), millons of lines of code is difficult enough.  SAP has 40K ERP customers with wildly different configurations and with users can modify, enhance, and otherwise interact with the application.

How does one build a test system, never mind test cases, to test that in a non-geologic timescale?  The quality must be built in from the start — an inspection approach to quality is doomed to fail.

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