Google guarantees cloud reliability

Web giant extends 99.9 per cent uptime promise from Gmail to Apps.

Claiming its cloud' email services are more reliable than traditional IT, Google has extended its availability guarantee across all its web-based services.

The firm said it will be extending its 99.9 per cent service level agreement - which is currently offered to Premier Edition users of Gmail - to its Google Apps including Calendar, Docs, Sites and Talk services.

According to data from the Radicati Group, on-premise email solutions such as GroupWise, Lotus and Exchange averaged 30 to 60 minutes of unscheduled downtime, on top of 36 to 90 minutes of planned outages. Google claimed its Gmail averaged 10 to 15 minutes of unplanned outages each month over the past year, with no scheduled downtime.

"Looking just at the unplanned outages that catch IT staffs by surprise, these results suggest Gmail is twice as reliable as a Novell GroupWise solution, and four times more reliable than a Microsoft Exchange-based solution that companies must maintain themselves," Matthew Glotzbach, product management director of Google Enterprise, wrote on [a href="http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2008/10/what-we-learned-from-1-million.html" target="_blank"]the Google blog[a/]. "And higher reliability translates to higher employee productivity."

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But the firm did acknowledge the service hasn't been perfect, highlighting a major outage in August. "A very small number of people have unfortunately been subject to some disruption of service that affected them for a few minutes or a few hours. For those users, we are very sorry," wrote Glotzbach.

Indeed, the firm said that with a million businesses using Google Apps and tens of millions using Gmail, any disruption "attracts a disproportional amount of attention."

But Google claimed that when its customers feel pain, it does too. "Google is one of the one million businesses that run on Google Apps, and any service interruption affects our users and our business; our engineers are also some of our most demanding customers," Glotzbach said.

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