In recent weeks those using FolderShare have had much to complain about. The service has been down more than its been up, and a quick look at FolderShare newsgroup shows that for a service such as this, 99.9% uptime is the minimum that is demanded. Relief may be at hand however, as Microsoft finally starts to make progress with Windows Live FolderShare beta.
Mohammed, one of the FolderShare team members that frequents the newsgroups, has been open about where they are now:
“We’re hard at work on improvements to the service, including some great new UI enhancements you can expect to see in the coming months that we think you’re going to love.
In the meantime, however, we’ve been facing some challenges as we begin to transition the platform behind the service from the original code FolderShare ran on when we first acquired it to a more robust offering. And unfortunately many of you have been feeling some of these pains first hand.
Specifically, some recent hardware failures caused a chain of events that have caused connection issues for many over the last week or so. We are working hard to address these problems and expect things to be functioning properly again in the coming days. And longer term, you can rest assured that we are also making significant investments in our architecture and platform to fix these issues for the long term and to prepare the service for the future.”
Reading between the lines suggests that a true Windows Live FolderShare beta is on the horizon, finally updating the FolderShare website and client that have been running from before the acquisition. How FolderShare eventually ties in with the other Windows Live services we’ll just have to wait and see.
So why has it taken so long for Microsoft to get this far? Mohammed alluded to it in part. As FolderShare was an acquisition, it didn’t arrive in a pre-packaged box that said “plug ‘n’ play” compatible on the side; it was service built on (L)AMP. As such it will have been rewritten to run on the Windows-powered servers that form the massive Windows Live datacenters.
There’s also the fact that Windows Live services are used by a lot of people, so turning FolderShare into a scalable solution is no small feat. While the downtime in the last month may be above the threshold of acceptability, imagine the outcry if a few million people jumped on it and the service wasn’t ready!