A detailed view of what has happened with Google's gmail / apps service over the last month, what Google's done to assuage customers, and how analysts view the actions:

One outage, on Aug. 11, lasted about two hours but affected almost all Apps Premier users. The other two, on Aug. 6 and Aug. 15, hit a small number of Apps Premier users, but both outages were lengthy, lasting for some affected users more than 24 hours. In all of the incidents, users were unable to access their Gmail accounts, getting instead an error message when trying to log in.

In Wednesday's letter, Google said that system reliability is a top priority and that, although it can't promise zero downtime, it commits to solving outages quickly. "More importantly, we promise you focused discipline on preventing recurrence of the same problem," the letter reads.

In addition, Google plans to improve the way it informs Apps Premier administrators about system problems via a new dashboard that will become available in a few months. ...

Google Apps critics question whether the suite can really provide enterprise-grade software availability and performance and thus be a real option in large companies to conventional, on-premise options like Microsoft's Office and Outlook/Exchange or IBM Lotus Notes/Domino.

Google acknowledges that most Apps subscribers are individuals or small and medium-size organizations. However, the company has high hopes that the Premier edition, with its IT management and enterprise software integration features, will push into the enterprise market of large companies.
When I've been asked by customers about my view of this space, I say that SaaS/cloud is important, the pricing/delivery model is interesting, but it will take time before Google -- or Cisco -- or any other vendor -- matures to provide the sophistication and flexibility of what we've learned from 20 years of distributed messaging environments.  Besides, e-mail has moved to the fully commoditized space, so once we address this point, we can discuss things that will really contribute to business value -- collaboration, unified communications, and overall innovation.

Link: ITworld: Google extends Apps Premier credit for Gmail outages >

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