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Google Apps Gets a 99.9% Guarantee

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the outlook-cloudy-try-again dept.

Google 155

David Gerard passes along a posting on Google's official blog announcing that they have extended the three-nines SLA for the Premier Edition of Google Apps from Gmail alone to also cover the Calendar, Docs, Sites, and Google Talk services. 99.9% uptime translates to 45 minutes a month of downtime, and the blog post puts this in context with Gmail's historical reliability, which has been between three and four times as good over the last year (10-15 min./mo.). It also claims, based on research by an outside group, that Gmail's historical reliability beats that of in-house hosted solutions such as Groupwise and Exchange, on average. Reader Ian Lamont adds an article in The Standard that digs down into the details of the SLA, revealing for instance that outages of less than 10 minutes aren't counted against the monthly 45 minutes.

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Umm... (3, Insightful)

Sylos (1073710) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606449)

so if I have 60 1 minute downtimes, I'm keeping within the 99.9% uptime range? I call shenanigans.

Re:Umm... (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606469)

Exactly. How many minutes per month of downtime inclusive of anything, for any reason?

Re:Umm... (4, Insightful)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606477)

Most likely it's the time for node crash detection and load balancing to take effect.

If service is that bad or intermittent, nobody would buy service there.

Re:Umm... (1, Funny)

HappySmileMan (1088123) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606485)

Well you could have 90 downtime like this and still count? If it's down for 9 minutes, up for 1, down for 9 etc.

But of course measuring it googles way that would still be 100% uptime.

Re:Umm... (4, Interesting)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606623)

Well if they cache the current session locally and it is just the connection to the back end that you lose temporarily I think it would be alright. Losing data sucks. That said who uses desktop suites without a crash? "Hopefully" (not sure if that is the right word to use when referring to an outage), they manage to have the downtime clumped together and planned in non-peak hours for the region (say upgrades done first Saturday of the month at midnight or something).

My big concern with this type of offering is it increases a companies dependence on their internet line. If your network is down not only can't retrieve files, email or browse, you now can't work on productivity software either. Essentially if your doing a job that requires a computer in this environment you can't work whenever the internet or network has a hickup. I like having something else to do in the rare instances where the network isn't working right.

Add to that the fact that wireless/laptops are becoming of larger importance in companies (and wireless is flaky at the best of times IMHO) you're really courting disaster not just in terms of outages but in terms of accidental data loss. Say your not so gifted technologically colleague decides to walk over to your desk with their laptop to show you the spreadsheet they've been working on. They get out of range of the router that they were using and presto session time out and the chance of data loss.

Re:Umm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25607733)

Of course, you are only avoiding those application-specific crashes. Compounding downtime as well as browser (another necessary application) crashes, I'd still rather be doing things on my own machine in mission-critical scenarios.

Re:Umm... (2, Interesting)

cgenman (325138) | more than 5 years ago | (#25607943)

Is that 99.9% uptime or 99.9% planned uptime? Many companies refer (rather facetiously) to *planned* uptime, which means that you can have unlimited downtime so long as it isn't unplanned.

Re:Umm... (1)

shadanan (806810) | more than 5 years ago | (#25608557)

I believe they're referring to availability. In this case, planned downtime shouldn't affect availability since service can be proactively transferred to a backup system with zero impact to the user. Wikipedia has good article here [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Umm... (2, Informative)

aaarrrgggh (9205) | more than 5 years ago | (#25609107)

The concept of "unplanned downtime" seems to originate in the banking world, where something as benign as daylight savings time could force you to take down the mainframe for two hours. It has unfortunately spread to other industries (healthcare records management pops up). The real question is if Google's application architecture requires planned downtime for the service as a whole or individual users.

Based on their roots, I would expect them to be able to do any upgrades in the ten minute window they exclude from their SLA.

Wait.. (0)

Warll (1211492) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606451)

Google doesn't have 100% uptime? They have never gone down when I've noticed, guess its that sweet cloud setup they have there.

Re:Wait.. (5, Informative)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606483)

It's called a cluster, "The cloud" is a really annoying buzzword for software as a service.

/Mikael

Re:Wait.. (2, Interesting)

Drakonik (1193977) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606807)

A Beowulf cluster?

Re:Wait.. (3, Informative)

game kid (805301) | more than 5 years ago | (#25607023)

It's a King Arthur cloud, maaan. Get with the times!

Re:Wait.. (4, Informative)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 5 years ago | (#25607127)

There'd be no need for a Beowulf-type cluster in this case.

Have a bunch of machines running identical instances of Apache, and randomly fire requests at them individually. This balances the load, and ensures that the servers themselves aren't a single point of failure.

It's quite a bit more complicated than this in reality, although you should get the basic idea.

Beowulf is typically used for clusters that seek to emulate a supercomputer (usually for scientific number-crunching), rather than a server. For this reason, something like Google's setup would more typically be referred to as a "server farm"

Re:Wait.. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25607839)

Good job you posted this, I bet Google wasn't aware of this technique... when do you graduate?

Re:Wait.. (3, Insightful)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 5 years ago | (#25607079)

On a related subject, next person who says "in the cloud" is going to get cockpunched. As parent said, there are no clouds, just highly available clusters.

Re:Wait.. (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25607179)

Yeah, punch those bastards. Punch 'em so hard they'll go flying up high in the sky. In the cloud, even.

Re:Wait.. (1)

Worthless_Comments (987427) | more than 5 years ago | (#25607109)

I am a cloud, you insensitive clod!

Re:Wait.. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25607321)

I am a clod, you insensitive cloud!

Re:Wait.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25607949)

I am 99.9% a clod, you insensitive cloud!

Re:Wait.. (1)

theeddie55 (982783) | more than 5 years ago | (#25608765)

so i'll be an insensitive 0.1% cloud to complete the cycle.

Re:Wait.. (2, Insightful)

glwtta (532858) | more than 5 years ago | (#25607241)

I thought it was a really annoying buzzword for compute capacity as a service?

Re:Wait.. (2, Funny)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 5 years ago | (#25607255)

It's called a cluster, "The cloud" is a really annoying buzzword for software as a service.

An from my experience clouds are full of unpredictable vapour and they tend to have this annoying tendency to turn to rain - not really something I would want for my data ;)

Re:Wait.. (0, Redundant)

suso (153703) | more than 5 years ago | (#25608141)

...really annoying buzzword...

Don't be redundant. Just say buzzword and that's enough.

Re:Wait.. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25606511)

Google is a company. Saying "Google doesn't have 100% uptime" makes as much sense as saying "Microsoft takes 40 minutes to install". What specifically are you trying to say?

Re:Wait.. (-1, Flamebait)

i.of.the.storm (907783) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606703)

Google is also a website, you dickwad.

Re:Wait.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25606849)

The second statement is inherently wrong. Everybody knows that Microsoft takes at least a couple of hours to install.

Re:Wait.. (2, Informative)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 5 years ago | (#25607233)

Google doesn't have 100% uptime? They have never gone down when I've noticed, guess its that sweet cloud setup they have there.

Seriously? I see it happen at least once every few weeks or so. It's usually very temporary, like as in less than a minute, but I'm quite familiar with the look of Google's error/service unavailable page...

Re:Wait.. (1, Redundant)

mortonda (5175) | more than 5 years ago | (#25608003)

Seriously? You must not use it much.

frost piss (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25606461)

lool butts

Re:frost piss (0, Offtopic)

Sylos (1073710) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606471)

looks like your frosty piss froze before it could reach the front.

Re:frost piss (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25607075)

A couple weeks ago, while browsing around the library downtown, I had to take a piss. As I entered the john, Barack Obama -- the messiah himself -- came out of one of the booths. I stood at the urinal looking at him out of the corner of my eye as he washed his hands. He didn't once look at me. He was busy and in any case I was sure the secret service wouldn't even let me shake his hand.

As soon as he left I darted into the booth he'd vacated, hoping there might be a lingering smell of shit and even a seat still warm from his sturdy ass. I found not only the smell but the shit itself. He'd forgotten to flush. And what a treasure he had left behind. Three or four beautiful specimens floated in the bowl. It apparently had been a fairly dry, constipated shit, for all were fat, stiff, and ruggedly textured. The real prize was a great feast of turd -- a nine inch gastrointestinal triumph as thick as his cock -- or at least as I imagined it!

I knelt before the bowl, inhaling the rich brown fragrance and wondered if I should obey the impulse building up inside me. I'd always been a liberal democrat and had been on the Obama train since last year. Of course I'd had fantasies of meeting him, sucking his cock and balls, not to mention sucking his asshole clean, but I never imagined I would have the chance. Now, here I was, confronted with the most beautiful five-pound turd I'd ever feasted my eyes on, a sausage fit to star in any fantasy and one I knew to have been hatched from the asshole of Barack Obama, the chosen one.

Why not? I plucked it from the bowl, holding it with both hands to keep it from breaking. I lifted it to my nose. It smelled like rich, ripe limburger (horrid, but thrilling), yet had the consistency of cheddar. What is cheese anyway but milk turning to shit without the benefit of a digestive tract?

I gave it a lick and found that it tasted better then it smelled.

I hesitated no longer. I shoved the fucking thing as far into my mouth as I could get it and sucked on it like a big half nigger cock, beating my meat like a madman. I wanted to completely engulf it and bit off a large chunk, flooding my mouth with the intense, bittersweet flavor. To my delight I found that while the water in the bowl had chilled the outside of the turd, it was still warm inside. As I chewed I discovered that it was filled with hard little bits of something I soon identified as peanuts. He hadn't chewed them carefully and they'd passed through his body virtually unchanged. I ate it greedily, sending lump after peanutty lump sliding scratchily down my throat. My only regret was that Barack Obama wasn't there to see my loyalty and wash it down with his piss.

I soon reached a terrific climax. I caught my cum in the cupped palm of my hand and drank it down. Believe me, there is no more delightful combination of flavors than the hot sweetness of cum with the rich bitterness of shit. It's even better than listening to an Obama speech!

Afterwards I was sorry that I hadn't made it last longer. But then I realized that I still had a lot of fun in store for me. There was still a clutch of virile turds left in the bowl. I tenderly fished them out, rolled them into my handkerchief, and stashed them in my briefcase. In the week to come I found all kinds of ways to eat the shit without bolting it right down. Once eaten it's gone forever unless you want to filch it third hand out of your own asshole. Not an unreasonable recourse in moments of desperation or simple boredom.

I stored the turds in the refrigerator when I was not using them but within a week they were all gone. The last one I held in my mouth without chewing, letting it slowly dissolve. I had liquid shit trickling down my throat for nearly four hours. I must have had six orgasms in the process.

I often think of Barack Obama dropping solid gold out of his sweet, pink asshole every day, never knowing what joy it could, and at least once did, bring to a grateful democrat.

What about internet downtime? (4, Insightful)

Dan East (318230) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606489)

Yes, but what is the average company's internet downtime verses their LAN downtime for a single-campus outfit?

So instead of LAN / Exchange Server (or whatever is being used) you now have LAN / WAN / Google downtime. WAN gateway downtime is probably the weakest link in the chain, so wouldn't the total downtime be greater using something internet based?

Re:What about internet downtime? (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606841)

what use are webserver, email server, IM servers if your internet is down anyway?

Re:What about internet downtime? (4, Insightful)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 5 years ago | (#25607067)

With an internal server, the mail you got it stays there so you can still read it, and compose replies. With an internal SMTP you can queue emails for delivery even if they don't get out (nice for laptops that may not stay around until the connection comes back). With an internal IM server you keep being able to talk to people inside the company, and can depending on the server, can queue messages until the connection comes back.

Now if you happen to use say, gmail, then you're out of luck. You can't read your mail, can't compose replies, can't IM people in the next room. All you can do is sit there and wait for somebody to fix the problem.

Re:What about internet downtime? (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 5 years ago | (#25607545)

Now if you happen to use say, gmail, then you're out of luck. You can't read your mail, can't compose replies, can't IM people in the next room. All you can do is sit there and wait for somebody to fix the problem.

Isn't that problem the idea behind Google Appliances?
You plug it into your network and :BAM: locally hosted Google products.

Re:What about internet downtime? (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#25608223)

If you're using Gmail, you could avoid this problem with an IMAP client. Of course, that may defeat the point of Gmail...

The other cool point about web apps is: If your Internet goes down, you can go wandering. Maybe there's some nearby wifi you can leech. Maybe you go to Starbucks. Maybe you go home.

With an internal server, if you lose power, you're SOL. If your server is down, you're also SOL. If a worm runs rampant, bogging down network traffic and even making your desktop unusable, guess what? You're shit-outta-luck.

Re:What about internet downtime? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25608979)

Actually you can. Gmail (and docs as well) has offline connectivity, so you can do most things that don't require fetching more information (i.e. reading e-mails). In fact it's even better because it's queued up transparently on your laptop and will be sent up whenever you get an internet connection (i.e. you take it home).

Obviously there's still reasons against this type of thing in general (i.e. hosting data offsite, slow sending internally of large files), but yours is not a valid one for Gmail.

Re:What about internet downtime? (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606967)

Internal email might be able to get around if your internet connection is down, but that's about it. If a company's seriously looking at outsourcing its email servers anyway, I doubt that keeping the internal email up during an internet outage is worth the headache of managing their own machines.

Re:What about internet downtime? (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 5 years ago | (#25607071)

WAN gateway downtime, what? Our DS3 hasn't been down once since it was installed in September 2006 and the firewall cluster behind it has likewise never been down since it was installed in 2005. If you have significant internet outages you are doing something wrong. Forget LAN outages, it just doesn't happen. Of course that's why we paid the premium for Cisco chassis based switches with redundant supervisors for both the datacenter and the wiring closets.

Re:What about internet downtime? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25607227)

WAN gateway downtime, what? Our DS3 hasn't been down once since it was installed in September 2006 and the firewall cluster behind it has likewise never been down since it was installed in 2005.

So, how does that protect you when your provider gets de-peered (Cogent, Sprint, etc)?

Forget LAN outages, it just doesn't happen. Of course that's why we paid the premium for Cisco chassis based switches with redundant supervisors for both the datacenter and the wiring closets.

Hahaha. There was a hospital in Boston with premium Cisco gear and premium service from TAC. It was down for 4 days:

http://www.snwonline.com/storage_knowledge_center/all_systems_down_03-03-03.asp [snwonline.com]
http://www.medical-journals.com/r0313.htm [medical-journals.com]

Re:What about internet downtime? (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 5 years ago | (#25607415)

Our ISP is AT&T, I don't think they are going to get depeered =) Also the fact that a bunch of amateurs didn't know how to get STP under control has nothing to do with the reliability of Cisco hardware. It's like the condition of our network before the current staff got there. The company had a laser link between buildings that would go out with the slightest bit of precipitation, this would have been bad enough for the other building but whenever the network reconverged their was a spanning tree war because there was a switch in each building that was setup as a root bridge. Turning off the root bridge in the other building and setting spanning tree weights correctly eliminated the main network problems and digging a horizontal bore and running fiber eliminated the other buildings problems.

Re:What about internet downtime? (1)

Xugumad (39311) | more than 5 years ago | (#25607831)

You apparently have an operational budget that probably has an extra zero over ours. We don't even have UPS for the network, which takes the whole lot out for a while every 3-4 months. Having had both the power substation for the cluster of buildings we're in, and the power substation for the network a few hops upstream, catch fire, hopefully they've fixed a lot of the old hardware that was causing those power outages, but...

I suppose if you've got the network, Google stuff makes sense. For us, we'd love a lot of these things in appliance version, but depending on them day to day wouldn't make sense.

Re:What about internet downtime? (1)

Splab (574204) | more than 5 years ago | (#25608755)

It's called backhoes and they will eat up your uptime in one scoop.

Re:What about internet downtime? (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 5 years ago | (#25608943)

Nah, our SONET loop goes out to two different streets and to two different POP's which are routed out separate directions. I know that isn't typical or universally available but we did our homework =)

Re:What about internet downtime? (3, Insightful)

mysidia (191772) | more than 5 years ago | (#25607165)

So instead of LAN / Exchange Server (or whatever is being used) you now have LAN / WAN / Google downtime. WAN gateway downtime is probably the weakest link in the chain, so wouldn't the total downtime be greater using something internet based?

E-mail is internet based and isn't going to work if your WAN is down, regardless (you can't e-mail anyone, or receive e-mail from other people).

One of the costs of using a service like Google Apps is the increased need to design a proper resilient network at your site that won't go down.

If you are multi-homed and have dual WAN links that take an independent path, with a standby router, and ensure your ISP provides redundancy, and your network is properly designed according to network industry standard and respected network equipment manufacturer's best practices: then a failure of your internet connection is unlikely.

Much less likely than the probability of failure of a single mail server.

The cost of internet link failure or congestion is significant for companies that rely on internet-based resources and online communications for productivity.

For companies that conduct eCommerce, it is unthinkable to have the website going down, or to not have planned enough capacity for the network connection to meet all anticipated needs in a failure scenario. Bad connectivity is already costly, even without relying on application service providers for business apps.

In a well-designed setup, the WAN itself should not much reduce that 99.999% figure. Although yes, there are some new failure modes introduced.

Loss of connectivity to Google, for example, even if the network is otherwise working. Some unexpected Tier1 depeering ala. Sprint/Cogent may cause issues on rare occasion.

Re:What about internet downtime? (1)

SuperQ (431) | more than 5 years ago | (#25607629)

And if you are a big enough customer you'll likely have fiber to one of the various pops out there, and you can just buy a cross-connect directly to google's peering network. I don't know if anyone that size has yet to sign up for hosted gmail. I know a couple of schools have rolled it out.

Re:What about internet downtime? (1)

rcamans (252182) | more than 5 years ago | (#25607251)

Obviously the answer to the question "what is the average company's LAN/WAN downtime" is 42

3 9's is meaningless without customer support (4, Interesting)

syousef (465911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606571)

The 99.9% guarantee is great, if there's someone to talk to who'll actually look at the problem when those three 9s aren't met. Otherwise it's marketing propaganda.

Microsoft has 5 nines ... (3, Funny)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 5 years ago | (#25607539)

0.00099999.

Hey, it's five nines ... and with all the "exceptions" and bogus metrics in google's SLA, they're not offering 3 nines.

Re:3 9's is meaningless without customer support (1)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 5 years ago | (#25607543)

The 99.9% guarantee is great, if there's someone to talk to who'll actually look at the problem when those three 9s aren't met. Otherwise it's marketing propaganda.

Keep in mind that most software comes with no warrantee whatsoever that it will be worth what the marketing propaganda says it will be.

Also, I don't think that Google would put out a product like this without adequate support. And if your only problem you have with the software is only getting 99.9% availability, then a simple status webpage would be suffice that says something like, "We are experiencing troubles, we anticipate having the system back up in 10 minutes".

In my eye, I see this as setting the bar a little higher in terms of system architecture and software engineering than anything Joe sixpack, Joe Executive, or Joe the plumber or myself have seen to date.

Re:3 9's is meaningless without customer support (1)

cerberusss (660701) | more than 5 years ago | (#25608643)

Google Domains its Premier membership is something like $45 per year and definitely has a support number which you can call.

Re:3 9's is meaningless without customer support (1)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25607605)

so it's all propaganda unless you have someone to complain to on the phone? you know that customer support reps usually aren't the ones that maintain servers/networks or fix them when they go down, right?

if it makes you feel any better, you can pick up the phone and call your ISP and bitch at them until the problem is fixed. i mean, it's all the same. it's not like complaining to customer server/tech support ever gets a service outage fixed.

this is a service agreement. it states their company policy, and if they break the agreement you can file a lawsuit. what you're asking for is that Google waste resources on useless tech support line operators (which are usually outsourced to overseas call centers anyway) just so you can delude yourself into thinking that complaining to a customer service rep over the phone is going to fix any server problems.

if you need to feel busy when their service is down, why not do something that's actually productive?

Re:3 9's is meaningless without customer support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25608623)

And what is it you want to hear from the person on the phone? That they know there is a problem? That they are working on it?

They are talking about outages not features working differently then you expect.

Myself I prefer a company that doesn't pay people to hold my hand. Just fix it and try to avoid the same mistake twice.

Server uptime is not the issue. (3, Informative)

B5_geek (638928) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606583)

The issue is your internet connection AND your ISPs connection to the world. Your connection to the world is more likely to go down before a Google cluster would. Think of how often Telco's, ISP, and major hubs go down. This is the point behind having LOCAL copies of apps/servers/services, the odds that the hub/switch dies (with nothing else inhouse to patch around) is very slim compared to the odds of internet connectivity going south.

Re:Server uptime is not the issue. (5, Informative)

Predius (560344) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606653)

As a commercial user of Google Apps, I have observed this not being the case. GMail does go down, and the cause is not our connectivity. What's worse is when there is a problem, all the 'phone support' does is tell you to post on their forums... not impressed.

Re:Server uptime is not the issue. (0, Redundant)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606679)

Stupid observation equals a stupid answer.

If service is bad, dump service. If you are not responsible for policy decision, bring it to who is.

This applies to any non-monopoly. Google is not a monopoly in the cloud (vapor) business, nor are they in the app business.

Re:Server uptime is not the issue. (3, Insightful)

Predius (560344) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606727)

Gee... you don't think I haven't brought it up, multiple times, with data? I pointed out the pitfalls before we jumped in, and we got bit. If I had control we'd be off GMail, but it's not my final decision.

That doesn't make my observation any less salient.

Re:Server uptime is not the issue. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25608447)

If there's a problem, you can bet they know about it. You calling them and telling them something is wrong is not going to help get the problem solved faster. Thus, they direct you to the forums to complain.

Re:Server uptime is not the issue. (1)

glwtta (532858) | more than 5 years ago | (#25607203)

Think of how often Telco's, ISP, and major hubs go down.

Very rarely? I worked for three companies over the last 7 years, I can remember losing internet connectivity exactly once: we were down for 3-4 hours after a construction crew damaged our T1 line.

Hell, I lose my home connection only once or twice a year.

great, now all we need (1)

inzy (1095415) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606725)

is an internet service that's 99.9% reliable, or this is all moot

Re:great, now all we need (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 5 years ago | (#25607155)

Even my very worst site out of 13 that I monitor has 99.8% availability, if you are getting much worse than that then I strongly suggest you change ISP's.

Is the .9% even statistically meaningful.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25606729)

..if you don't count individual .02% outages? IANAS[tatistician] but I'm pretty sure it invalidates their findings for anyone who really cares.

Your Net (1)

hhawk (26580) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606731)

It seems correct that Google's end of the network works very well.

The other side of the network, yours, is the other consideration; how good your connection? LAN? desktops? Etc., Etc...

Then beyond that, i've used Gmail since 2004 from Korea to Paris and NYC to Cali... I've had it run fast and slow.. is that the Google Server? the network? my computer(s)? I would think it's mostly network congestion but that's a hard one for an average user to determine (where and why and how to fix).

Nothing has 100% uptime (3, Insightful)

EsJay (879629) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606737)

If your organization will fail without 100% email uptime - bon chance in the real world, mon friend, bon chance.

Make sure your users have a phone directory available on their local PCs (or paper copies on their cubicle walls). Have a phone tree notification system scheme in place in case the network is REALLY down.

And prepare for the troublesome PRODUCTIVITY SURGE when your users cannot reach the Internet!

Re:Nothing has 100% uptime (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25606801)

If your organization will fail without 100% email uptime - bon chance in the real world, mon friend, bon chance.

Or, you can build your email infrastructure with redundancy in mind: multiple email servers on multiple internet providers on mulitple backbones.

And some things do have 100% uptime. You can buy IBM mainframes and AS/400s that do have guaranteed uptime. I think Stratus does as well.

Re:Nothing has 100% uptime (1)

Edzilla2000 (1261030) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606893)

It's "bonne chance"...

Re:Nothing has 100% uptime (4, Funny)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 5 years ago | (#25607555)

It's "bonne chance"...

... his Google Apps spellchecker only has a 99.9% SLA, you ignorant clod!

Re:Nothing has 100% uptime (1)

turbidostato (878842) | more than 5 years ago | (#25608303)

"... his Google Apps spellchecker only has a 99.9% SLA, you ignorant clod!"

Yeah, but he missed 2 characters out of 12, that makes just 83.3%, you spellchecker SLA infringing clod!

You don't get what you pay for (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25606793)

Just another proof that when one deals with "programming" companies, you don't get what you pay for, you get what you negotiate for, and then less.

My telephone service [POTS] gets me 99.999% reliability, but then again, it's run by engineers, and not simple programmers.

Want to charge me engineering rates for your "software engineers", give me engineering guarantees, and none of this software bull.

Re:You don't get what you pay for (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25607365)

Just another proof that when one deals with "programming" companies, you don't get what you pay for, you get what you negotiate for, and then less.

Then go write your own OS and code to run on your hardware, asshole.

Re:You don't get what you pay for (1)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 5 years ago | (#25607519)

Your POTS isn't delivering five nines worth of uptime. You just aren't on the phone 24x7, so you don't notice.

I've got a couple of decades of experience with AT&T systems. Oh, and I'm a programmer.

Re:You don't get what you pay for (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25607713)

Uh, yes it is. In fact, in order to be a telephone company here [In the great white north, you have to be government approved].

All outages must be reported, be it 1min, or 1hr.

During the blackout [another programming failure], regular telephone service worked.

I'm not so sure about all the VoIP stuff and cellular stuff, since they don't have the same ammount of government regulation,

Still beta? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25606805)

If their service is so solid, then why not remove the 'BETA' tag from Gmail?

Re:Still beta? (2, Informative)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606835)

The service they sell isn't beta. The service they give away is what they inflict new features on.

What I actually posted (4, Funny)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606827)

was their claim that this is 4x less outages than on-site-maintained Exchange or GroupWise.

(Notes, of course, gets 45 minutes of uptime a year.)

wouldn't like to be customer support on this one. (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 5 years ago | (#25606923)

fuck that, imagine how many disputes they will have with retarded IT departments who can't manage their own network properly causing goolge apps to be unavailable. they are going to get the blame for every isp fuck up that happens as well.

Nice to see Slashdot becoming a PR outlet again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25606987)

Faster Googlefanboys, Kill! Kill!

Wow, that's pretty terrible (4, Informative)

yttrstein (891553) | more than 5 years ago | (#25607021)

I achieved four nines (%99.99) 8 years ago with Netscape's broken mail server "Suite Spot" running on a (at the time) three year old Sun E450 with 4 gigs of RAM. As I recall, it served about 120,000 clients on a large cable network in Chicago.

This whole "new web" thing is very pretty, but it seems like about three steps back to me.

Re:Wow, that's pretty terrible (4, Insightful)

hax0r_this (1073148) | more than 5 years ago | (#25607323)

That may be true, but what you were able to achieve and what you guarantee clients you will achieve are two very different things.

Re:Wow, that's pretty terrible (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 5 years ago | (#25607529)

The penalty for failing to achieve it also influences the guarantee.

Re:Wow, that's pretty terrible (1)

gillbates (106458) | more than 5 years ago | (#25608863)

Yeah, but you need to remember that ten years ago, vendors like HP, Sun, DEC, and SGI (IIRC) were putting uptime guarantees in their marketing. IBM wouldn't guarantee uptimes, but they would state the average mainframe had less than 5 minutes of downtime a year. Strangely, Microsoft was pushing Windows as "Enterprise Class", but would make no uptime guarantees. Guaranteeing your clients 5 nines of uptime is nothing new in the enterprise market. It wasn't until Microsoft started pushing Windows as a server that people started to think of 5 nines as some kind of remarkable feat - it had been done in the industry by IBM mainframes and UNIX machines for decades prior.

Re:Wow, that's pretty terrible (1)

Plutonite (999141) | more than 5 years ago | (#25608261)

I hate to tell you this, but your 'Homepage' website is down. What happened to the 4 nines now, batman? :)

Push (1)

pbrammer (526214) | more than 5 years ago | (#25607161)

Gmail might have a better uptime than Exchange, but at least Exchange has push-email.

Re:Push (2, Funny)

networkzombie (921324) | more than 5 years ago | (#25607377)

Push email is actually very important when there are donuts in the break room. When you alert everyone they all get the email at the same time and no one gets left out of the Monday morning cofee and donuts feeding frenzy (gotta be fast to get the eclairs, though).

Re:Push (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 5 years ago | (#25607973)

Gmail might have a better uptime than Exchange, but at least Exchange has push-email.

Why is push better in practical terms than, say, a 1-minute pull?

Re:Push (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25608225)

Uh, pushing is more efficient of network resources than polling. And more "responsive". Think "IM" versus "POP".

Re:Push (1)

TrancePhreak (576593) | more than 5 years ago | (#25608385)

Power useage on a phone with push can be much lower. A 1 minute poll means your data connection is constantly active. Push means the message goes through the phone network and connects to you only when necessary. It's kind of like SMS, but instead it goes to your email.

well well well (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25607199)

if the slashfags aren't swinging off of obama's nutsack they still have google, linsux and steve 'blow' jobs.

it's cute how desperate slashfag is to have people see things their way. fucking faggots.

Re:well well well (1)

ozphx (1061292) | more than 5 years ago | (#25607853)

Wading through Coward's latest dense prose, I felt disappointed. What could have been a truely epic troll was falling flat. I suspect that by padding out the homosexual references somewhat, and by pacing himself, Coward could have really delived with this one. There was some unique content here but terrible delivery.

A poor performance. One and a half stars.

What is more imprtant is... (1)

rcamans (252182) | more than 5 years ago | (#25607293)

How much data loss occurs? big corp email loss is bigtime (I worked at one of the biggest, "most knowledgable", and exchange server crashes were frequent. You just had to have email set to move to a local folder. Of course, the local machine was also running M$windoze, so you lost it there.
Network connectivity issues were rare (think "invented the internet").
Lost, corrupted, unavailable, and stolen data must be the primary determinants of usability. So unavailable comes in third. Think backup tapes, and you will see that although not easily available, buttsave is possible has long been good enough.

So the questions are, in order:
How much mission critical data is lost? one major contract or project is too much.
Corrupted data is probably useless, nearly lost.
Can google data be restored? I have not heard.
Can google apps be hacked?

Re:What is more imprtant is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25607449)

Network connectivity issues were rare (think "invented the internet").

You worked for Al Gore?

What's The Recourse? (1)

bschorr (1316501) | more than 5 years ago | (#25607297)

So if somebody is running their business on the free version of Google Apps and they have more downtime than the SLA allowed exactly what do they get? A refund? And by the way, I'd like a list of those Exchange customers who are suffering 2.5 HOURS of downtime per month. Sounds like they should be about ready to change service providers...

99.9 is not so good (1)

mschuyler (197441) | more than 5 years ago | (#25607511)

I dunno, if my servers had 45 minutes of unplanned downtime per month, I think the condition would be called 'chronic repeated failures' and be subject to some 'employee counseling.' I can understand planned, scheduled downtime after hours, but I don't think that's what they are saying here. Our users get nasty when the net is not available for 20 seconds. 45 minutes a month isn't acceptable around here. And saying, "Hey, this isn't a hospital. It's not as if anyone was at risk!" is not something you'd want to say either. Nope, I think they need to add some more nine's there. Not something to earn you bragging rights or put on your resume.

Re:99.9 is not so good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25608341)

Our users get nasty when the net is not available for 20 seconds. 45 minutes a month isn't acceptable around here.

Depends which 45 minutes. Downtime between 4 am and 6 am isn't important for many companies.

99.9% is merely good advertising copy. (1)

Dzimas (547818) | more than 5 years ago | (#25607963)

Imagine an airline that offered 99.9% reliability. Or a new car that runs only 99.9% of the time. 45 minutes per month of downtime sounds reasonable, until that 45 minutes happens to take our entire organization's email system offline for a few adrenaline-filled minutes on a busy Monday morning. Cloud computing is still in its infancy, and will be until the "cloud" offers near-perfect redundancy on both a software and network level.

Re:99.9% is merely good advertising copy. (1)

Shados (741919) | more than 5 years ago | (#25608031)

Cars don't get anywhere close to 99.9%, since just a flat tire can take you out for a while, nevermind a broken transmition. If you need to let the car sit overnight, thats pretty much done for. And well over 50% of flights are delayed, even just 99% reliability is a pipe dream (i know you basically meant plane crashes, but still).

Sysadmin = Punching Bag (2, Interesting)

lucm (889690) | more than 5 years ago | (#25608037)

When Google is down, all you get is access to lousy forums with little or no support, while your end users keep asking for an ETA or at least for an explanation. You end up being a punching bag for the failure of a solution you probably never agreed with and that was forced down your throat by the management.

I guess this is an ok deal for small biz with no technical employees, but as soon as your users headcount goes over 20, Novell Groupwise or Microsoft Small Business Server becomes more interesting. And when hosted locally, it will at least work as internal groupware and allow users to access shared documents while the internet connection is down.

Penalties? (2, Interesting)

Jeff Hornby (211519) | more than 5 years ago | (#25608483)

Google guarantees 99.9% uptime, right? So what do you get if they don't deliver? A lollipop? A cookie? A profound apology personally signed by Larry and Sergey?

Actually you get extra time.

If the system is down for betwwen 45 minutes and 7.2 hours, you get an extra three days. &.2 hours is pretty much a full business day if it starts at the wrong time.

If the system is down for 7.2 hours to 36 hours you get 7 free days.

And if the system is down for more than 36 hours you get 15 free days.

I don't know about the rest of you, but most of my clients would be losing at least tens and perhaps hundreds of thousands of dollars an hour if all of their key systems went bust. Email is down? No communications because not only is that a communication channel, that's also where you keep most of your contact information. Productivity suites are down? There goes work for the entire office for the duration. Not only are they unable to create new documents, they're unable to access existing information.

You can say what you want about Microsoft Office (or even move to something else like OpenOffice or StarOffice) but at least when something happens to Office, it only stops one user. If Google goes down, your entire enterprise grinds to a halt for the duration.

Re:Penalties? (1)

blincoln (592401) | more than 5 years ago | (#25608597)

That was my question as well. I think it's especially important to have answered given that Google has already failed to meet a 99.9% uptime at least once this year.
When they fail in that way, how long is it before they are able to make a particular uptime claim again? Apparently the answer is "less than a few months" at best. I suspect it's actually "immediately" instead of the more appropriate "when they prevent their service from going down long enough to meet the stated uptime percentage including statistics for as long as the service has been offerered."

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