Announcing FogBugz On Demand: Fog Creek moves into the world of hosted software.
I’m happy to announce that FogBugz On Demand is now available. This is a professionally-hosted version of FogBugz 5.0, previously only available as a download.
In the end, $21 per user per month is not a phenomenal deal in pure economic terms. We pay $129 per user for a installed version of FogBugz, so we have an ROI of six months for purchasing over renting. But there are other reasons to rent, one of which is not to have any headaches with it.
FogBugz is not a smooth-as-silk install. There’s a custom PHP extension involved, which I’m guessing is how they keep it proprietary, since that’s the thing that appears to check your license.
However, it’s worth saying that FogBugz is amazingly well-supported. I have called them twice, gotten a human instantly both times (with no accent!), they answered my question competently and quickly, and — get this — they never even asked me for a customer number or other proof of who I was. It was really amazing.
And, as usual with Spolsky, he talks about some of the technical background behind the move:
In general, we decided to use high-end components for our hosting architecture: Dell PowerEdge 2950 Servers with SCSI RAID, Windows Server 2003, and SQL Server 2005. Yep, that’s an expensive way to do it. Since FogBugz runs fine on LAMP (Linux / Apache / MySQL / PHP), we could have gotten a bunch of cheap boxes, used all free software, and saved some money in exchange for some level of headaches. Indeed, most hosted services really should be built on LAMP. In our case, though, the cost of those Microsoft licenses and those extremely reliable Dell servers can be spread out over quite a few paying customers, so for us the cost difference per customer is really inconsequential.
This is a particularly brilliant idea:
Rather than setting up Los Angeles as a mere backup, we decided it would be completely live. Half our customers will be hosted from Los Angeles, and half from New York. That way we know at any time that both data centers are working and set up correctly, and we don’t have to wait until a massive failure to discover the problems with the backup data center.