With yesterdays outage of Gmail for two hours, the discussion about when to use SaaS or host application can erupted again. Should you run others SaaS or is it better to run the applications in your own datacenter. This is also interested for Google Wave, since most users probably will use Googles hosted version.
I will not start guessing if the internal IT organization is better at running their hosted Wave server or if Google is better at running their complex Wave servers. At least Google has the resources to get the system back up running fast. It would require a large IT organization to get systems back online in just 2 hours.
The outage gave information on how depended we are on Gmail or mails. When (if) we convert to Google Wave this dependency will get even bigger, because more communication will go that way.
As a person I can live without email, Twitter or Wave for minimum 6 hours. For communications part it can probably be down longer, but it is more the data I have stored that I need. I have hotel reservations, which would be quite frustrated not to have when I need to find the hotel that, I booked. It will be inconvenient not to have access to some data when I need it, but it can probably be managed.
For organizations downtime is more costly because employees cannot work, or have to perform other work than processing emails. There is of cause difference in how dependant each user is of mails, some just checks mails few times a day while others work with the mail constantly. Some of the work can be perform using snail mail or just save the mails in text file, which could be create to mails later. All the processing towards the ERP systems can be performed as they always have, so there is no need to retrain people.
If Google Wave is down, when organizations start depending on the service, the work is stopped again. Wave currently does not have an offline version, and it will be strange to have offline waves. So the works will have to reply or communicate using email instead.
With mail people has to enter data into their ERP system manually. With Wave it is possible to let the wave interact with the wave directly. This means that employees cannot process the orders offline, after they start to use Wave.
If Google Wave’s is down, and then organizations how host their own Wave server, they can still work. The problem would be that there will not be any communication outside the organization, this might not be possible because of Googles users how cannot interact with the waves anymore.
The whole problem is the more dependants we are on a technology the more vulnerable we get for failures. I don’t believe that many organizations can do a lot of work when their ERP system is down, we might see the same for Wave systems.