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Rethinking Gmail: Reliability Matters

Sep 25, 2009, 23:32 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Joe Brockmeier)

"Another Day, Another Outage

"This week, Gmail suffered yet another outage affecting an unknown (outside of Google, at least) number of users. This is hot on the heels of a massive outage that affected pretty much all Gmail users — including those of us who pay Google for the "Apps for your Domain" service.

"Having worked in a data center, I have some sympathy for a company when there's some downtime. Murphy's Law can strike with a vengance, and I'm convinced that there is no such thing as enough redundancy to fully prevent service outages completely. What's important is that those outages are minimal, managed well, and learned from.

"Google may well be learning from its outages, and it seems to be managing them OK, but we've surpassed "minimal" at this point. The previous outage affected the entire service. This time, at least in my case, I was able to reach mail but unable to use my contacts and Gtalk became extremely unreliable.

"Mail was available via IMAP and POP3, apparently, but isn't the whole point being able to reach the service via the Web and have access to Gmail's search capabilities? I'd be surprised if the majority of users have a client configured to access Gmail through IMAP or POP3."

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