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The Connected Web

Phil Wainewright

Google Fails the Enterprise Cloud Test

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Last week, I suggested that Google has a better model for cloud computing than Oracle, Microsoft and other established enterprise software vendors — a topic I'll be speaking about at this week's Cloud Camp London, by the way. But even if Google has the right architecture, its business practices still fall short.

One thing the conventional vendors have got right is their respect for enterprise-class performance and customer service. I think SaaS vendors who serve the same market, including companies like Salesforce.com and NetSuite, understand what's needed, but not Google. The evidence comes in how it handled last week's downtime at its AppEngine platform-as-a-service offering. Writing in The Register, Ted Dziuba described just how poor Google's performance was:

"App Engine was offline for roughly six hours, and for much of that time, even the status page which tells users about downtime was unavailable. Now that's a strong way to send a message."

Even worse was Google's poor explanation of what had gone wrong, which offered little detail on the cause of the problem, nor any confidence that it will be fixed any time soon. As Dzuiba writes:

"Let's say that you were tasked with maintaining the computing platform for your company's web services. After six hours of service outage, your supervisor asked you for an explanation of what happened, and you follow Google's lead. You say, 'There was a serious issue with one or more of our computers'. Ass, meet curb."

Compare that to how hosting company Rackspace handled the outbreak of a fire an outage last week at its largest data center facility, which led to downtime at a number of prominent customer sites (not related, as an earlier version of this post suggested, to the Seattle outage due to a fire at a different colocation provider's premises last week that took payment processing company Authorize.net offline for several hours, along with several other sites. All in all, last week was a bad week for hosting providers).

During its outage, Rackspace posted frequent updates with full analysis of what had gone wrong and what steps it is taking to prevent a similar incident in the future. The company is also on the hook for at least $2.5 million in service level penalty credits to its customers. Now that's what I call taking responsibility.

Rackspace stacks up well against Amazon, too, according to analysis just released by JMP Securities, but Amazon's offering comes out cheapest.

2 Comments

Finally something Google is failing at providing. Are they too spread thin? Are they becoming Microsoft?

They are an advertising company, why would anyone expect them to know anything.

Phil Wainewright blogs about how businesses are using the Web to get better plugged into today's fast-moving, digital economy.

Phil Wainewright

Phil Wainewright specializes in on-demand services View more

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