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Jessica Ann Mola

Google Outages: Big Trouble for Cloud Computing?

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Signed into Gmail yesterday morning to send a "how's it goin'?" IM to my best friend (cut me a break -- my daytime social interaction is limited to three coworkers in the office, tops)...only to realize my Contacts list wouldn't load.

I don't think I experienced the full-blown Gmail outage endured by "a small subset of users" -- I was still able to send and receive emails -- but the lack of GChat sure did dampen my mood.

This isn't Google's first problem with Gmail -- not even the first this month.

On Sept. 1 Gmail experienced "a severe outage that the company said affected a 'majority' of users," the AP reported.

Although Google claims yesterday's outage affected only a "small" number of users, it didn't seem that way.

My coworker, aforementioned best friend and a whole bunch of people on Twitter weren't able to access their Gmail at all, apparently. Hmm.

Are the Google outages as big of a deal as the media makes them? PCWorld's David Coursey raises a few good points in his blog:

"Google is actively promoting cloud-based computing as the alternative to the desktop apps we are using today...Google is also a dominant force in personal and business computing. Many depend on its services and use them, literally, all the time.

This makes Google's reliability an important issue. Our move to cloud applications, like Gmail and Gnews, cause us to notice outages more than we might have in the past."

Said Tony Bradley, also of PCWorld: "These repeated outages damage the credibility of the cloud."

Enterprises considering moving to the cloud "have reason to be concerned when the poster child of cloud computing can't provide reliable availability," he writes.

Do you think the Google outages damage cloud computing's credibility? Leave your comments below.

1 Comment

I wish that people would understand that ALL technology is subject to crashes, downtime, bugs and other issues. This is NOT just limited to the Cloud. The Cloud is obviously under more scrutiny simply because it's new. The same could have been said quite a few years ago with eCommerce and buying online. Now people almost use it without thought.

I hope that media and others can stop this F.U.D. (Fear Uncertainty Doubt) campaign against the cloud. The cloud offers so many more benefits than traditional hosting, however, it's not the panacea for all. Hybrid clouds (as provided by GoGrid & ServePath - http://www.GoGrid.com) for example leverage cloud AND dedicated infrastructure, making it even more reliable, secure and robust.

Gmail is free also and was there long before the term Cloud Applications (aka SaaS) came into existence. Please people, let's consider the advantages of the cloud before we start slamming it for reliability. It's pretty darn good for a concept that is so new.

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Jayaprakash Kannoth

Jayaprakash Kannoth is Software Engineer at TechTarget. His areas of interest include business process management, enterprise architecture, business intelligence , cloud/infrastructure computing and technology in business.
The opinions expressed herein are my own and do not represent my employer’s views in any way.

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