Thursday, August 14, 2008

Information by Bauani: Google Apps Hit by Prolonged Gmail Access Problem

Information by Bauani: Google Apps Hit by Prolonged Gmail Access Problem

A technical problem hit an undetermined number of Gmail users,
including paying subscribers to the Google Apps hosted software
suite, locking them out of their accounts for about 15 hours on
Wednesday and early Thursday.

Google first acknowledged the problem in the official discussion
forums for Gmail and Google Apps shortly after 2 p.m. U.S. Eastern
Time on Wednesday and declared the problem solved at almost 5 a.m. on

A Google official posting status updates on the Apps forum wrote that
the problem affected "a small subset" of Apps users, without being
more specific.

More than 500,000 businesses and universities with about 10 million
active users have signed up for the free and fee-based versions of
Google Apps.

The problem, which also affected stand-alone users of Gmail, made it
impossible for users to log in to their accounts. They got a "502
Server Error" message when they tried to log in.

In the main Google Apps Discussion Group thread devoted to this
incident, administrators complained loudly about the length of the
outage and the lack of status update details offered by Google

A "502" error hit Gmail on July 16 as well, and also led to a long
outage for affected users, according to postings in the discussion

A day before this week's problem struck, Dave Girouard, president of
Google's Enterprise unit, talked up Google Apps at the Pacific Crest
Technology Leadership Forum.

Girouard said Google has big plans to aggressively expand the
features and capabilities of the suite, while keeping the price of
the Premier fee-based version at US$50 per-user annually.

Google,, IBM, Amazon, Hewlett-Packard and other major
vendors are big backers of cloud computing and the software-as-a-
service (SaaS) model for delivering applications and computing
resources via the Internet.

However, outages that leave users without access to such a basic
business tool as e-mail for extended periods of time spook business
and IT managers considering Web hosted software like Google Apps and
cloud computing offers like Amazon Web Services.

When something goes wrong with the hardware or software in the
vendors' data centers and the performance and availability of the
software or computing services are affected, there is little that IT
and business managers can do but wait for the problem to be solved,
while their end users complain and demand information and solutions
that are out of the IT department's reach.

"Seriously...It has been two hours. Can you provide us with another
update? For a company with your reputation, I'm absolutely shocked at
the apparent absence of customer service," wrote a Google Apps
administrator on the discussion forum on Wednesday. "This amount of
down time is unacceptable."

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