DocuSign continues to push the boundaries at its annual user conference DocuSign MOMENTUM 2014 as it announces the carrier class capabilities of its Digital Transaction Management (DTM) platform, available March 11, 2014. The way it was announced may have been a little unorthodox but its impact was undeniable.

Put your money where your mouth is

The release introduces Carrier Grade or “always on” availability which puts traditional standards of SaaS companies not just in the shade, but in pitch darkness. Not only did DocuSign announce it, but the entire keynote audience of 1,200 people was kept on the edge of their seats as we were treated to what may be considered to some, an extremely risky demonstration. It was undoubtedly the most powerful demonstration to test a product I have ever seen.

Who decides to disrupt their own servers live in front of a huge audience to show just how robust the system is? It seems insane, right? Certainly to some, even if systems had been thoroughly tested, the exposure risk would be considered too great. Of course, for safety’s sake, this was all carried out in a demo environment, but a customer facing environment all the same!

Keeping Cool

Confidence was so high in the system architecture, Matt Malden, Chief Product Officer, asked DocuSign’s CTO, Grant Peterson to intentionally cause a commotion to the systems to prove just how strong the system is. Jokes were made about rising blood pressure, and even the audience’s pulse rate was rising rapidly, as we watched the live status of DocuSign data centers being taken down. Murmurs ran around the conference as the crowd could not believe their eyes.

Green ‘up’ lights changed to red ‘down’ lights as Grant one by one disrupted the servers, all while DocuSign’s DTM solution continued to operate perfectly. Customers can be truly confident they can complete mission-critical business transactions anytime, anywhere, on any device, even in the face of a major disruption. Planned downtime for maintenance is completely eliminated. It’s superhero strength service!

Bulletproof Architecture

So how do they do it? Each DocuSign instance in this new architecture is comprised of multiple simultaneously active DocuSign systems in different geographic locations, each supporting customer transactions while staying in sync with each other. In process and completed transaction data is saved in multiple locations, providing high availability and a superior level of protection against data loss or corruption. DocuSign’s servers are tested and engineered to meet or exceed the highest availability standards, and provide very fast fault recovery through redundancy.

DocuSign believes every day could be an organisation’s ‘Super Bowl’ moment. No matter what lights and operations will remain on. We can be sure of that. So the lesson is… Be bold. Be brave. When your systems are carrier grade you can have the confidence to do this and do it live. It’s almost a new definition of resilience. Scary fun they called it, but they weren’t scared at all. There was no need to be.