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Pardot Marketing Automation Software Review


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Pardot Review—Data Center and Hosting

Pardot is only available in the software as a service (SaaS) model. There is no option for on-premises installation, private cloud deployment or deployment on a public cloud such as Amazon EC2 or Microsoft Azure.

Pardot leverages hosting provider Softlayer for data center colocation and redundant application software hosting delivery. Softlayer data centers are tier 4 facilities backed with physical and logical high availability, fail-over redundancy and information security. Pardot uses Softlayer data centers in Dallas and Seattle which are mirrored in order to distribute both processing load and downtime risk. This is a slightly different approach than most SaaS marketing software providers which instead operate from a single data center and mirror to a redundant location solely for fail-over.

Softlayer's physical infrastructure and connectivity is complimented by some of the better known data privacy standards and independent audit certifications. The company possesses a US/EU Safe Harbor statement, which is a benefit to European companies, and a SAS 70 (which as of June 15, 2011 has been officially replaced by the SSAE 16, although several vendors have yet to catch up) which is one of the most recognized third party reviews for assessing internal controls by outsourced service providers. Softlayer does not possess an ISO 27001, a more globally recognized audit and certification which most of the top tier data centers possess.

Also, Pardot data centers posses a few points of presence (POPs) outside the United States, but extremely limited data center processing beyond North America, which will result in greater latency, jitter and performance degradation for non-US customers. Out of country data centers may also present data privacy issues for certain companies in Canada and the European Union due to regulatory compliance.

Pardot does not offer a Service Level Agreement (SLA) to customers. While not entirely unusual in the SaaS marketing software industry, this lack of assurance introduces additional risk, and an inferior hosting assertion as compared to competitors such as Marketo and Eloqua which do provide financially backed SLAs to their customers.

Pardot delivers some level of online performance visibility at which is managed by third party Watchhouse. Unfortunately, the visibility is limited to 7 days performance (prohibiting uptime/downtime trend analysis) and what is defined as normal performance appears quite questionable. For example, on the day of this review, current online performance was classified as "operating normally", however illustrated an average latency of 1021 milliseconds. Most web practitioners, and SaaS users, would regard 1021 ms as little more than tolerable. Again, this issue is likely to be less of a concern for U.S. based customers where online performance is stronger, and much more of a concern for non-US based companies.

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