Earlier this week, thousands of Google's gmail users experienced a prolonged outage.  My personal gmail account (which I use in part to keep up with the industry/technology trends) was down for over an hour.  As I watched Twitter tweets, I could see literally thousands in the public stream experiencing similar downtime.

eWeek's Clint Boulton wrote an excellent story about this outage.  He contacted several industry analysts to get their take on the outage, and whether it was an indicator in terms of Google's enterprise readiness.  Dana Gardner points out one irony:

Gardner explained that, for whatever reason, users of free Web-based apps have higher expectations than those paying higher prices for internal commercial systems that may suffer the same or worse performance. What a crazy, twisted world we live in.
I think that expectation is higher for gMail because Google itself has evangelized how reliable and efficient cloud-based services can and should be.  I also think that the fact that Google offers an enterprise version of the service, at US$50 / user / year, sets expectations that it is enterprise-ready...even if it is still called "beta" after more than four years.  So, maybe it isn't.  As Burton's Guy Creese says in the article:
Creese echoed Gardner's statements about the ubiquitous nature of Gmail, noting that many SAAS (software-as-a-service) solutions are used in small groups or departments to do Web conferencing or other tasks. If those targeted solutions go down, the affected departments can't do their jobs, but the rest of the business continues running.

The issue with Gmail or Google Apps, he noted, is that the business grinds to a halt when they go down.

Creese then put the nail in the coffin for Google Apps and Gmail in the enterprise: "At this point, it is risky for enterprises to move over to Gmail and Google Apps, given this past behavior."

However, he also said we can't slap the unreliability tag on SAAS because of Google, noting that companies such as Salesforce.com have a better uptime track record than Google.
Most of the analysts, and the reporter, try to indicate that enterprise systems go down.  Missing from the article is any indication of the reliability of the Lotus Domino clustering model.  I can't remember the last time I had an e-mail outage...years.  I talk to customers all the time who report 100% availability with their premises-based solutions.

I think this whole episode was a timely reality check.  There are other issues with the SaaS model for something like e-mail.  Identity services need to mature, too.  I learned today that there is an "ed.brill.ibm@gmail.com" user on gMail...it's not me.  Google won't help me get rid of them.

If you believe someone has created a Gmail address in an attempt to impersonate your identity, you may wish to file a report with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (www.ic3.gov), a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National White Collar Crime Center.

In addition, we recommend contacting your state's Office of Consumer Protection.

Gmail is unable to participate in mediations involving third parties regarding impersonation. To read the Gmail Terms of Use, please visit: http://gmail.google.com/gmail/help/terms_of_use.html.
For some reason, this sent a real chill down my spine.  especially when I checked out ic3.gov and learned how onerous the process is there.  

Link: eWeek: Google Gmail, Google Apps Are Not Enterprise Ready >

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