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Google solves long Gmail outage, but questions remain

Juan Carlos Perez | Aug. 19, 2008
Google finally solved the latest Gmail outage on Friday (15 August) night, but questions remain about its cause.

Also out for more than 24 hours was Howard Feldstein, chairman of the Mexico chapter of Democrats Abroad, the official U.S. Democratic Party organization for American expatriates. "We're quite busy leading up to the convention. I have relied on Gmail not only for e-mail but for my primary contact list and was totally isolated for more than a day," he said.

Abhishek Parolkar, an IT consultant in Bangalore, India, also lost access to his Google Apps Gmail account for more than 24 hours, which disrupted important billing messages from clients.

Sadie Upchurch, president of Glinting Communications, a public relations firm near Atlanta, was affected for about 15 hours. "I was on client deadlines and had to work around for re-routes and resends of e-mails from those clients," she said.

"I do remind myself that I'm not paying for the service and that there's a level of patience and adequate backup you've got to have when you're getting something for free," she added.

Still, it's common for organizations to try out Google Apps via its free Basic version before considering a move to the fee-based Premier edition, so a wobbly e-mail component is unlikely to entice anyone to upgrade. Google serves all of its Gmail users, from individuals to Google Apps Premier account holders, from the same infrastructure, so Gmail outages hit all types of users indiscriminately.

The suite, even in its free version, is geared at workplace use and designed for employee collaboration, which is why it contains calendar, word-processing, spreadsheet, presentation and Web site creation applications.

For that reason, it's unlikely that Google would consider several lengthy Gmail outages in a span of two weeks as the norm for Apps. After all, Google has aspirations that Apps will grow its very small presence among large enterprises, which demand high performance and availability levels from their software. Apps is currently used mostly by small organizations.


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