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2/26/2009
06:52 PM
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Gmail Failure Breeds Status Dashboard

The software provides data on the status of Google Apps applications, including Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Talk, Google Docs, Google Sites, and Google Video.

To compensate for the Gmail outage embarrassment this week, Google on Wednesday launched a new dashboard to provide its users with more information about the status of its products.

The outage, Google explained Tuesday afternoon, was the result of some buggy code that was introduced at one of the company's European data centers. The search engine is offering a 15-day service credit to its paying Google Apps clients.

"Unexpected side effects of some new code that tries to keep data geographically close to its owner caused another data center in Europe to become overloaded, and that caused cascading problems from one data center to another," said Gmail site reliability manager Acacio Cruz in a blog post. "It took us about an hour to get it all back under control."

The Google Apps Status Dashboard provides data on the status of Google Apps applications, including Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Talk, Google Docs, Google Sites, and Google Video. It was created, the company said, because Google recognized the need for better communication in downtime situations.

"The Google Apps Status Dashboard represents an additional layer of transparency that we believe will be particularly useful for our business users, and it's also relevant to users of our consumer products," said Google's Tessa Prescott in a blog post. "The Status Dashboard is the best place to check for information on service availability for Google Apps anywhere in the world."

Google's Dashboard looks a lot like the one Amazon Web Services uses to track the availability of its computing services. Nonetheless, it should help Google keep its users in the loop when further issues arise, as they're sure to do.


Resolving server problems over remote access is tough if the network is unavailable. A true out-of-band system can improve network uptime. InformationWeek has published an independent analysis of this topic. Download the report here (registration required).

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