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2/25/2009
07:19 PM
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Google Takes Credibility Hit With Gmail Outage

The company will credit some customers for 15 days of service, which would amount to almost 4% of the $50 per user per year Google charges.

Google has said it would credit customers for 15 days of service, which would amount to almost 4% of the $50 per user per year Google charges for the service, if every paying customer was affected. The spokesman did not disclose numbers but said many customers did not experience a long-term outage.

Companies that have service-level agreements with guaranteed 99.9% uptime per month would have been entitled to a three-day credit as a result of the latest outage, he said.

Gmail's low cost is the biggest attraction to businesses. Google's service, which also includes offline access to in-boxes when the service is down, breaks down to $4.17 per user month, which has set a "new price floor on e-mail and archiving costs," Forrester said in a recent report. When all costs are considered in deploying the hosted service, Google ends up being less than half the cost of Microsoft Exchange Online Standard.

But Forrester advises companies choosing hosted services to try to negotiate service-level agreements with outage penalties that cover losses in worker productivity and other damages. "Get some sort of compensation more in line with actual losses," McLeish said.

Gmail, which has 113 million users worldwide, is the third-most-popular Web-based e-mail service, behind Microsoft's Hotmail and Yahoo's Mail, according to Web metrics firm ComScore.

Google has said that the latest outage was the result of "unexpected side effects" from new code introduced to keep data geographically close to its owner. The code caused a European data center to overload, which caused "cascading problems" from one data center to another.


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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