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Extended Gmail Outage Frustrates Admins 430

Posted by timothy
from the pulling-out-doesn't-sound-manly dept.
CWmike writes "A prolonged, ongoing Gmail outage has some Google Apps administrators pulling their hair out as their end users, including high-ranking executives, complain loudly while they wait for service to be restored. At about 5 p.m. US Eastern on Wednesday, Google announced that the company was aware of the problem preventing Gmail users from logging into their accounts and that it expected to fix it by 9 p.m. on Thursday. Google offered no explanation of the problem or why it would take it so long to solve the problem, a '502' error when trying to access Gmail. Google said the bug is affecting 'a small number of users,' but that is little comfort for Google Apps administrators. Admin Bill W. posted a desperate message on the forum Thursday morning, saying his company's CEO is steaming about being locked out of his e-mail account since around 4 p.m. on Wednesday. It's not the first Gmail outage. So, will this one prompt calls for a service-level agreement for paying customers? And a more immediate question: Why no Gears for offline Gmail access at very least, Google?"
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Extended Gmail Outage Frustrates Admins

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  • by mlwmohawk (801821) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @02:41PM (#25404157)

    Someone else deals with all the problems, right?

    • by Thelasko (1196535) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @02:50PM (#25404263) Journal
      Remember folks, it's still in beta!
      • by electrictroy (912290) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @03:10PM (#25404589)

        That's no excuse. When I need a word processor, I need it NOW, not tomorrow. I do not want my software to be dependent upon anything except my Cl drive. No net connection required.

        • by twistedsymphony (956982) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @03:24PM (#25404791) Homepage
          Something tells me that an email system that only depends on your hard drive with no net connection wouldn't be very useful.

          FWIW I don't seem to be having any problems getting gmail through my gmail-lite [sourceforge.net] install.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Bryansix (761547)
            That gmail-lite project appears dead. That or they just forgot about the blog since 2005.
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              yeah glite is on life-support in an official capacity, but there is work being done here [sayni.net]. Though it's mostly just enough to keep it functional with the changes that google impliment.

              It works well enough that I can run it from my own server and access my email in places where gmail might be blocked or otherwise difficult to access directly. which is all I need it for.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 16, 2008 @03:38PM (#25405031)

          What's a chlorine drive?

        • by Firehed (942385) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @03:53PM (#25405229) Homepage

          Yeah, that's usually what I was saying about email when the exchange server at my previous employer went down every third week or so. Or when some rodent chewed through the line that handled the VOIP. Or when some transformer down the street got plowed by some idiot driver causing sporadic access to the mains for half a day. Word processors in the cloud may not make a ton of sense right now, but email is fundamentally useless without every machine in the chain working properly.

          You try running your software without a power connection and let me know how it goes for you. Laptop batteries don't last that long, and desktop UPSs even less so (assume that the generator, if present, can only keep the servers online indefinitely, not the whole building).

          Gmail being down for a few hours is a minor inconvenience at worst. If your dirt cheap or free and completely awesome email being unavailable for two hours a year is causing you to lose business, then you seriously need to rethink your operations. You have a landline, a cell phone, and a fax (among others), and if those are all also out of commission then chances are you've got bigger problems. You know, that mushroom cloud hovering overhead.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 16, 2008 @04:28PM (#25405677)

          I do not want my software to be dependent upon anything except my C: drive. No net connection required.

          Different strokes. If you were traveling to see a client and your laptop got stolen, you might see the upside of having your documents online. Viewable and editable whether on a free library terminal or iPod Touch.

          I can't count the number of times myself and co-workers have mislaid a USB thumb drive. Can I just VPN in? No, that's why I have the damn thumb drive.

          And I use Photoshop, so there's no promise that my client will have a spare terminal in their office with the latest version installed. I guess that's why Adobe is shooting for online apps too. [slashdot.org]

          • by TaoPhoenix (980487) * <TaoPhoenix@yahoo.com> on Thursday October 16, 2008 @04:50PM (#25405919) Journal

            C. Other.

            The online copies are backups. When your laptop went AWOL, you go to some new computer, download them, then do your thing.

            Go redundant. When your laptop isn't available, these new phones can sometimes process your actual documents. We're one generation short of proper usability on this front. That will be fixed in about 2 years.

            Phone not an option? Get a "disposable desktop". You know, some piece of junk for $100. There's a huge influx of machines due to hit this maturity stage within the same next two years when HeavyOS drives upgrades.

            My USB drive is my watch. It's strapped to my arm. So unless I'm a twit and take it off, it's essentially unloseable. Oh look, I lost it. Here's one on my car key chain. Awww, I got mugged. Maybe in 10 years they'll be doing subcutaneous mods. (Gee. My beer belly holds 4 terabytes.)

      • by EraserMouseMan (847479) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @03:13PM (#25404629)
        If Google doubts it's readiness for mission-critical usage it gets a "beta" slapped on it. Do real professionals actually think Google Apps is ready for prime time usage?
      • by elrous0 (869638) * on Thursday October 16, 2008 @03:26PM (#25404829)
        My status as a Google shareholder is in beta too.
      • by kestasjk (933987) * on Thursday October 16, 2008 @04:25PM (#25405651) Homepage
        The worst thing is the update to iGoogle (which is extensive and undoubtedly the cause of the outage) is quite a step backwards. It's a pretty clunky hybrid of a window based system and a widget based system, with a lot more AJAX and a lot fewer clickable links.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Kugrian (886993)

          The worst thing is the update to iGoogle

          Dear god yes! After 3 years of having a perfect homepage, I now have to change, as the new one no longer fits my needs. I'm all for change, but a 'Use original IG' option would be nice. Even if it wasn't updated and newer applications would no longer work. My perfect homepage is now destroyed :(.

    • yeah i was getting "invalid password" messages all day in outlook with gmail hosted accounts

    • by jellomizer (103300) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @03:05PM (#25404507)

      Yes. In your organization how many times have your servers went down or had a problem... Compare that to Google Mail... You will probably find that there is a lot less downtime. The problem is just like flying on an airplane. You are statically safer flying an airplane then driving. However because you fate isn't in your control you feel more scared then if you could just drive there yourself. The same thing with SaaS models, you actually get better service however because you don't have the same amount of control you feel like it is riskier. But it isn't

      • by mlwmohawk (801821) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @03:17PM (#25404681)

        because you don't have the same amount of control you feel like it is riskier. But it isn't

        I have a real problem with "cloud computing" and the lack of control is just once piece. With google, there is no assurance that *my* problem is being worked on. *My* problem will get handled in the order in which it was reported. (if at all) To me, MY problem is the most important problem.

        The problem with "cloud" computing, and probably the biggest IMHO, is the importance of "you" and your interests to the company providing your service. Suppose that you build your own business on a company providing virtual machine services. All is going well, you are profitable, and poof!! they decide to drop the service because it isn't profitable for them. What if they see what you are doing and say "hey, that's a great business idea, how does he do that, lets look at the code." and so on.

        I could go on, but there is a lot to be said about "building" your own business, and my rule of thumb is: "Committing to a single vendor lock-in, in the long run, will always be worse than doing it yourself."

        • by MightyYar (622222) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @03:29PM (#25404869)

          With google, there is no assurance that *my* problem is being worked on.

          While that is true, it is also true of your electricity and net connection. And any other utilities feeding your building that are critical to your business.

          For most businesses, losing email for a little while is nothing compared to a snow day. It just means more telephone calls. And probably more productivity :)

      • by Sancho (17056) * on Thursday October 16, 2008 @03:22PM (#25404751) Homepage

        Statistics aren't magical. It's entirely possible that a safe, conscientious driver is safer driving than flying (I haven't seen any statistics which break it down that way before.) There are a whole lot of considerations that need to go into a statistic like that for it to have any real meaning.

      • by A non-mouse Coward (1103675) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @03:25PM (#25404817)

        You are statically safer flying an airplane then driving

        That's true, I always get shocked while riding in cars. Can't remember a time in a plane, though. Must be that the plane is off the "ground".

      • by cailith1970 (1325195) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @03:26PM (#25404831)
        The problem I think isn't the fact that there is down time, the problem is that when you're performing internal maintenance, you can choose the best time to do it by coordinating with everyone else in the organisation. When downtime is imposed with little or no warning externally (or simply just goes down "for maintenance"), that's when the online model comes unstuck and people get frustrated.
      • by afidel (530433) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @03:32PM (#25404933)
        Yes. In your organization how many times have your servers went down or had a problem... Compare that to Google Mail... You will probably find that there is a lot less downtime.

        Sorry, but the total downtime I've ever caused ALL of my employers over my career has been a LOT less than 28 hours! Heck, even if you add up the downtime for all of the single systems I've admined their collective downtime is probably only close to that. I'm not bragging, I'm pointing out how bad of an outage this is. The only other outages I've personally heard of that were this bad are hosting providers who have critical systems physically damaged and a failed Exchange 2000 pilot at Cisco (They had a corrupted datastore that was so bad that MS and HP and EMC couldn't recover it so they had to fall back to a tape restore which took something similar to this gmail outage)
      • by Moebius Loop (135536) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @03:34PM (#25404955) Homepage

        Honestly, I've maintained my own mail server for 5 years, and my company's corporate server for 2 years, and I can count on one hand the number of times either of them have failed in that period. When they did fail (because I was being irresponsible about configuration changes, or hardware failures, etc), there was pretty much no way I was going to be getting in bed before I got them back up.

        Granted, I don't have millions of users and petabytes of email. But I also am not any kind of real system administrator, I don't have a massive redundant data storage facility, and neither do I have millions of dollars and endlessly brilliant engineers working at my beck and call.

        Some GMail downtime is, of course, to be expected. But these kind of high-profile outages from Amazon and Google are truly shocking. I don't think it puts the nail in the coffin of SaaS by any means, but it does indicate a significant necessity of SLAs for paying customers.

        I would desperately love to divest myself of the responsibility for these mail servers, but I want to know that I can trust GMail's response time during crisis as much as I can trust my own.

        • by Kalriath (849904) *

          I don't think it puts the nail in the coffin of SaaS by any means, but it does indicate a significant necessity of SLAs for paying customers.

          There is an SLA for paying customers, but with Google's track record they really need to up the penalties for non-compliance.

      • by SuperBanana (662181) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @03:39PM (#25405047)

        Yes. In your organization how many times have your servers went down or had a problem... Compare that to Google Mail... You will probably find that there is a lot less downtime.

        Bullshit- this is an often-repeated myth that small or medium-sized IT shops can't offer competitive uptimes. It's simply not true- I'm a sole sysadmin, and my server (~200 users) has only had one time when we had an outage , and it took us all of about 15 minutes to fix. We have a number of people who choose to use GMail, and I'm constantly reminding them that they should not be relying on Gmail so much.

        The problem is not downtime- it's lack of any way to mitigate the problems, and a complete and total lack of any customer service from Google. There is NOBODY you can call when there's a problem. PERIOD.

        Compare and contrast. Google:

        • If Google hoses someone's account, they're completely fucked. Google will shrug and say "meh, whaddya gonna do?", and point to their user agreement.
        • If someone breaks into their account or changes the password, they're completely fucked. Google won't block access, can't prove who is who, getting logs will be a slow fight to the death, etc.
        • If the user deletes a bunch of mail (or someone else does) or there's a bug with their email client (ie if they're using IMAP or POP access), they're completely fucked. Google won't do a restore. Their backups (if they even have any) are for "oh shit" system-wide fuckups (like, I'm guessing, the current one- I bet the accounts got deleted and they're restoring from backups.)

        Me:

        • If we hose someone's account, they need only wait about 15 minutes for the tapes in the jukebox to shuffle and we've got their entire account back from less than 24 hours ago. If I refuse or cannot, I'm pretty much out of a job.
        • If someone breaks into their account or changes the password, I can lock the account in seconds, and I've got logs for forensics I can hand over immediately to the university police. Again, my paycheck is close to these people.
        • If they delete a bunch of mail (or someone else does) or there's a bug with their email client (ie if they're using IMAP or POP access), again, they need only wait for the jukebox to shuffle tapes around. It's a few minutes of my time and perhaps a trip to the server room to feed the jukebox some tapes.
        • If we have a crash, or a hacker breaks in, etc- we tell people what happened and we get the hairy eyeball from the administration. If Google hoses your account, you're told they had a 'service outage' or 'technical problem', and that's that.

        The building I (and the server) are in in could burn to the ground, and I could have us back up in less time than this stupid outage at Google (I'm factoring the time to find/buy two commodity PCs, find/buy compatible tape drive/SCSI card, do an OS install, install the backup server, and fetch the off-site backups from across campus.)

        If Google's datacenter burns to the ground, how long do you think you'll be without your GMail account?

        • by Terrasque (796014) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @05:14PM (#25406151) Homepage Journal

          Yeah, got a rude awakening there myself. My gmail account was closed a month ago, no prior warning. No way to get to support. No way to actually contact a human.

          I still have absolutely no clue why it was closed. I also lost blog, gallery, docs, calendar, site stats, rss reader, notebook... You get the idea. Luckily I didn't have any serious data there, but still. It's a lot of things I used daily just suddenly gone.

          And google's ToS says "We can close an account for any reason. Absolutely any reason. Like, we didn't like the color of the sky today is a good reason." Which isn't helping the issue much either.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          The building I (and the server) are in in could burn to the ground, and I could have us back up in less time than this stupid outage at Google

          How? You'd be dead, or probably in a burn unit, or something...

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Bandman (86149)

          If Google's datacenter burns to the ground, how long do you think you'll be without your GMail account?

          But that's one of the strengths of using gmail.

          The loss of a complete datacenter for them would be a minor issue which would cause slow access. Accidental removal of one part of their infrastructure doesn't cause much of a problem. It's the administrative issues that get replicated across the network that cause major issues.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by jellomizer (103300)

          You work as the administrator. Your job is probably administering the system... Take You salary and add say 30% for your benefits. 35k - 90k depnding on your location vs. Say you use a professional SaaS shop and pay say $2000 (not just google free service) a month for the same services, that is 24k a year. With the $2000 a year service you are probably a good customer thus they make sure they are up. If not they will work just as hard as you to keep it running. This shop may have 10 - 20 people working on

      • by sribe (304414) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @03:56PM (#25405271)

        It most certainly is riskier. If you own your computers & data, and your company goes out of business, you no longer need access to that data. If you SaaS provider goes out of business, you probably still need that data.

    • by an.echte.trilingue (1063180) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @03:09PM (#25404585) Homepage
      As somebody who admins google apps in a business environment, I can say, that is not what they have to offer. What they have to offer is up-time that is better than what internal solutions could ever possibly offer at a price an internal solution could not pray to beat. Is it 100%? Is it free? Nope, but neither is the exchange server in the basement. Do I control my data? Nope, but realistically the alternative would be to contract my data storage out to somebody else anyway.

      Bill W. is probably taking heat because he sold google apps to his superiors as having 100% uptime with no disadvantages, which of course it does not.
      • by xant (99438) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @03:24PM (#25404797) Homepage

        I started out as a personal gmail user. I was very happy with it, even routing my work email through it, but when the question for our mid-sized business came up, "should we outsource our email to gmail?" I said no. I said let's do due diligence, there are other outsourced solutions, this is something we really ought to get right.

        Our CEOs (we have two, yeah..) both tried it and liked it, so we went with it.

        So I'm in the unique position of having argued to management that we shouldn't risk anything on Gmail, and us doing it anyway because management wanted it. And you know what? I was wrong. Gmail has been a great productivity booster for our business, it's saving us money on salaries, and the downtime is less than we experienced when we were half-assedly running it ourselves.

        Plus, when shit does hit, I just smile, and nobody tries to blame me. :-) On the ~two occasions that we had any noticable gmail outage, our CEOs weren't the ones complaining. They have realized that email may be important, but we can still get work done while gmail is futzing around with it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Belial6 (794905)
        People keep claiming that Google has better uptime than in house systems. I have to ask, what kind of monkeys are administering these systems? In the last decade, we have not had a single unscheduled email server outage. We haven't even come close to 28 hours of SCHEDULED downtime. Heck, my personal mail server hasn't come close to 28 hours of unscheduled downtime in the last decade. There just isn't that much that can go wrong on an even half assed administered email server. I get why it would take l
  • Outage Outrage (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pantero Blanco (792776) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @02:44PM (#25404191)

    It's a risk you take any time you let someone else handle something for you.

  • by Rinisari (521266) * on Thursday October 16, 2008 @02:44PM (#25404197) Homepage Journal

    Is that the sound of cloud computing advocates crying, or the sound of Richard Stallman laughing?

    • by That's Unpossible! (722232) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @04:36PM (#25405753)

      No, it's the sound of one hand clapping.

      What I mean to say is, what admin HASN'T had an outage like this?

      Shit happens. I'd rather get email that works 99% of the time, and when there's a problem, google engineers are dealing with it, leaving me time to work on more important things.

  • by EncryptedSoldier (1278816) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @02:45PM (#25404217)
    You can't count on Google to run your IT...sorry buddy. Using Google may be cost effective, but the obvious trade off is that someone else is really doing your job, and if that person drops the ball, then you really screwed the pooch, at least that's what your boss will think.
    • by whisper_jeff (680366) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @02:53PM (#25404321)
      The thing is someone will always drop the ball. In this case, the CEO can't chew out the guy in IT who pooched the email server and is working frantically trying to get it back up and running because that guy works for a different company. Or do people honestly think that an internally-run email server never has problems?... Just because it's Google does not mean it's infallible.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by samkass (174571)

      So you think most companies have better IT departments than Google? I agree that using a free beta software to run mission-critical software is probably unwise, but there are other providers that offer way more uptime than probably most internal IT departments could manage. Pair Networks, etc. It will cost money, though.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by snspdaarf (1314399)
        The thing is, if I am going to take a screamin' reamin' from the boss, I prefer it be for something that is either my fault or that I can do something about. While a normal human can grasp these issues, some admin-types seem to think that if they throw a big enough shit hemorrhage that it will force the IT people to fix the problem. Tough to do when it is outside of their control.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by LWATCDR (28044)

      Because every company can afford redundant internet connections, back up generators, a fall over mail server, and a 24/7 IT staff and I don't mean some poor guy with a cell phone and no life.

    • by ajs (35943) <ajs AT ajs DOT com> on Thursday October 16, 2008 @03:31PM (#25404905) Homepage Journal

      You can't count on the USPS to deliver your mail...sorry buddy.

      You can't count on Verizon to run your telecommunications...sorry buddy.

      Every service you use was, at one point, decentralized and every large corporation ran it themselves. Then someone did a better job and companies slowly released the reins. Does Verizon's phone service go down? Yep. Does the USPS lose mail? Yep. Goes Google mail go down? Yep. But, in the end we've decided that we'd rather rely on these external services than continue to try to run increasingly large services with ever-diminishing returns for the individual business.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ajs (35943)

        Interestingly, phone service and physical mail have both gone through several iterations of increasing and decreasing scope and centralization within organizations, so my above examples are a bit simplistic, but overall I think they hold up. We're at the start of what will be a century-plus period of understanding the role of computer-based communications in the business world, and as that grows and changes, Google will continue to grow and change and others will compete with them in interesting and perhaps

  • by Khyber (864651) <techkitsune@gmail.com> on Thursday October 16, 2008 @02:48PM (#25404249) Homepage Journal

    "Admin Bill W. posted a desperate message on the forum Thursday morning, saying his company's CEO is steaming about being locked out of his e-mail account"

    Run your own damned mail server if it's THAT IMPORTANT. Seriously, it's not hard to set one up, and you've obviously got the money to do it.

    Once again, it's a case of rich people with more money than brains having the problems. Nothing important here, nothing of value lost.

    • by Trepidity (597) <(gro.hsikcah) (ta) (todhsals-muiriled)> on Thursday October 16, 2008 @02:53PM (#25404327)

      I've been at plenty of places that run their own mailservers where uptime is considerably worse than Gmail's, so it'd be an improvement to offload it. The biggest problem seems to be at medium-sized shops: big enough for there to be problems, but not so big that you have some sort of massively redundant setup with transparent failover and 24/7 staffing. The ideal of the cloud-computing style of outsourcing is that you'd outsource to someone who was big enough to have a massively redundant setup with transparent failover and 24/7 staffing. However Google seems not to have delivered on that ideal.

    • by Rary (566291) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @03:04PM (#25404501)

      Run your own damned mail server if it's THAT IMPORTANT. Seriously, it's not hard to set one up, and you've obviously got the money to do it.

      Right. Because some nerdy 20-something admin with a copy of "Sendmail for Dummies" can do a much better job than all the engineers at Google.

      This is a paid service offered by one of the largest and most knowledgeable technology companies around. They should be able to do a much better job than any internal IT department. There are arguments in favour of doing it yourself, but there are definitely arguments in favour of outsourcing to a competent provider, which Google should be.

      This is a PR disaster for Google.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by slimjim8094 (941042)

        Right. Because some nerdy 20-something admin with a copy of "Sendmail for Dummies" can do a much better job than all the engineers at Google.

        Well, actually, there's a decent chance. These technologies are extremely mature, and pretty simple. For example, I ran a 25-user email server for well over two years with a 99.8% uptime... between age 15 and 17, and it handled at least 500 emails a day.

        The difference is, I was dealing with tens of gigabytes of data and backing that up (external HD + gpg + rsync + my house's firesafe). Google is dealing with thousands of terabytes (including, frankly, a couple of mine - I use their free domain service)

        I'm s

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Builder (103701)

      How do you figure it's not that hard to run your own mailserver? Please tell me how to achieve the following, simply.

      1. POP and IMAP access for all users
      2. Simple ability to delegate administrative rights for the domain including creation of new user rights
      3. Ability for users to manage aliases
      4. Ability for users to manage mail lists
      5. Spam prevention with similar success rates (including very low false positives) to Gmail or any other mass mail site
      6. Webmail
      7. Simple password changing for users
      8. Authent

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mortonda (5175)

      Run your own damned mail server if it's THAT IMPORTANT. Seriously, it's not hard to set one up,

      Yes and no, unfortunately. Sure it seems easy to set up a mail server, but there are a lot of misconfigured mail servers out there that are open relays, or spew backscatter spam, or simply get hacked and turned into zombies for spammers.

      That doesn't begin to touch the issues of administration of users, anti spam software, uptime and redundancy planning, etc.

      I'd say, it's not that hard *for a competent system admin* to set up a mail server.

  • POP/IMAP (Score:2, Interesting)

    by superphreak (785821)
    Why no Gears for offline Gmail access at very least, Google?
    I believe it's called POP/IMAP access, and it's been around a long time. Oh, downside - you might need a program called Outlook/Express or Thunderbird. Free download available. [mozilla.com]
  • by Orgasmatron (8103) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @02:53PM (#25404311)

    Who puts important mailboxes on a beta service? Sheesh.

  • by scsirob (246572) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @02:53PM (#25404317)
    This is the main reason not to turn to Software as a Service. Sure, it's nice to just rent some functionality, but you are not in control of your own destiny. What if Google decides that GMail no longer fits their business model? Poof...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tshak (173364)

      If you ran your mail server off a single $499 dell workstation you'd probably have availability problems as well. This is not a problem inherent with SaaS, it's a problem with using a consumer grade mail service for a corporate mail.

  • because offline access

    means you aren't using google. and we dont want that now do we?

    tell the CEO to stuff it. it was probably one of his mid level jerkoffs who decided outsourcing a critical business application to a 3rd party vendor with little accountability and no SLA whatsoever would be 'good for initech'

    I for one have no bad feelings about the outage.
  • by Que_Ball (44131) * on Thursday October 16, 2008 @02:59PM (#25404405)

    Quote from article: So, will this one prompt calls for a service-level agreement for paying customers?

    Paying customers of the apps Premium account level DO have a service level agreement.

    Free customers do not however which is probably what they were trying to say.

    Revised quote: So, will this one prompt calls for a service-level agreement for free customers in addition to paying customers?

    From the terms of service for Premier account edition:
    http://www.google.com/apps/intl/en/terms/premier_terms.html [google.com]

    1.9. *Service Level Agreement*, or *SLA* means the Service Level Agreement located at the following URL: http://www.google.com/a/help/intl/en/admins/sla.html [google.com]

    Downtime period is a period of ten consecutive minutes of Downtime

    Service Credit is
    three days of service added to the end of your term at no charge for monthly uptime percentage between 99.0 and 99.9
    seven days for between 99.0 and 95.0
    fifteen days for worse than 95.0 uptime percentage.

    You must request your service credit. It is not automatic.

  • Google SLA (Score:5, Informative)

    by WPIDalamar (122110) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @03:01PM (#25404453) Homepage

    http://www.google.com/apps/intl/en/terms/sla.html [google.com]

    There you go, the SLA for Google Apps. It's listed at 99.9%

    But... the remedies for them failing that suck, only up to 15 days worth of service per month will be credited.

    Also, it costs $50 per user per year

  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @03:08PM (#25404557) Homepage Journal

    Outsourcing links in your essential service chains is risky enough. Outsourcing them to a single point of failure is too risky. So many independent places all outsourcing something so central to so many service chains is unacceptably risky.

    I would never rely on GMail without a local cache of all the content GMail holds, or without a truly alternate server to serve my messages when GMail goes down, as it clearly does some percentage of the time.

  • Lol Mailtrust Ad (Score:3, Interesting)

    by genner (694963) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @03:50PM (#25405191)
    I wonder how much rackspace is racking in having their mailtrust ad slapped on top of this story.
  • by HalInc (112110) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @03:53PM (#25405245) Homepage

    In poignant irony, the banner ad I see above the story is a google ad that reads:

    "So why not switch to Google Apps?
    We maintain our hosted software 24/7 so you can sleep at night."

  • by The Moof (859402) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @03:56PM (#25405275)
    Employee: Hi, Help desk?
    Help Desk: Yea, how can I help you?
    Employee: I can't get my e-mail.
    Help Desk: Hmm... I see. Yea, there's an issue. Hold on while I call the help desk.
    Employee: Sure, no pro...wait, what?
  • by Knara (9377) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @04:09PM (#25405435)

    Yeah, okay, you get an SLA by paying for the business version, but anyone doing their homework and a few thought experiments will realize that SLAs are only potentially helpful after the fact.

    $50/yr/user isn't going to get you 100% uptime, I don't care who is running it.

    This strikes me kinda similar to the folks who try to run their businesses off Dreamhost shared web hosting servers (which don't even HAVE SLAs) and go ballistic when something breaks.

  • by billcopc (196330) <vrillco@yahoo.com> on Thursday October 16, 2008 @05:36PM (#25406367) Homepage

    That's what they get for not having an SLA.

    In today's bastardized world, if you don't have something in writing, you have absolutely nothing.

    If a small fry were to screw up this bad, they would be afraid of their phone thanks to the many passive-aggressive office drones complaining repeatedly. Not that it helps in any way, but I'm pretty sure Google's techs aren't being harassed with phone calls every 5 seconds. I hate to enable the lusers, but when you've got paying clients breathing down your neck, you tend to take whatever measures necessary to fix the problem asap.

    If anything, this should send the message that Google, contrary to popular belief, is not invincible. They mess up just like everyone else, which means maybe they're no better than anyone else.

The key elements in human thinking are not numbers but labels of fuzzy sets. -- L. Zadeh

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