Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Is that me or is the Internet down? Ahhh... Google Mail is!

As we all know Google had a rough day yesterday - massive "outage" on one of their products... actually a key product - Google Mail. Both, Gmail and Google Apps users (including paid ones) had problems accessing their mail via web interface, but ONLY via web interface. SMTP/POP/IMAP all seemed to work - at least for me - alongside calendars, docs, etc.

Leaving the media hype surrounding this situation (and people saying that google is evil) there is a few things to keep in mind... The situation that happened yesterday leaves no doubt that even the best brains and the best people money can buy, they DO MAKE MISTAKES - as we all do. It happened to Google this time, it may happen to your company tomorrow (or has already happened but you don't want to talk about it).
Yes - I got my part of 'grief and complaints' from my own users, it's perfectly normal situation I would say, so I wasn't even annoyed. I've called Google Support Team, got connected immediately to a very nice guy that confirmed that they have a wide-spread problem running for about 20 minutes now... and that all engineers are already on it (sounds like 'all hands on deck') and offered a callback when it is sorted. As a matter of fact, about 30-45 minutes later webmail access was quite slow but was working again.

Now let's wrap it up:
  1. they had a problem - big deal, who hasn't?
  2. they admitted it - there was no fooling around
  3. they got really good response time and fixed the problem
  4. ... and I would say they will have no problems keeping up to their SLAs (only one access channel was down - webmail, IMAP/POP/SMTP worked for me all the time), so can we say that Google Mail was down? Not really!
So if you are crying/moaning about the situation yesterday, then think again and get over it - it could be much worse! To get you in a better mood - think about calling one of those big telecoms and speaking to 5+ consultants before they put you through to the right department, where you will hear it's a problem on your side, not theirs. How does that sound? Did I hear "8 phone calls, hours wasted on the phone and then 2 weeks to get it fixed"?