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Summary:

Update: Google says sorry about the GMail outage. That’s good enough for me. Here is what Todd Jackson, GMail product manager had to say on the company blog. Many of you had trouble accessing Gmail for a couple of hours this afternoon, and we’re really sorry. […]

Update: Google says sorry about the GMail outage. That’s good enough for me. Here is what Todd Jackson, GMail product manager had to say on the company blog.

Many of you had trouble accessing Gmail for a couple of hours this afternoon, and we’re really sorry. The issue was caused by a temporary outage in our contacts system that was preventing Gmail from loading properly.

We’ve identified the source of this issue and fixed it. In addition, as with all issues that affect Gmail and our other services, we’re conducting a full review of what went wrong and moving quickly to update our internal systems and procedures accordingly. We don’t usually post about problems like this on our blog, but we wanted to make an exception in this case since so many people were impacted.

Original post below the fold.

It’s almost becoming routine, these outages at Google’s Gmail service. After we reported last week that there were some problems with Google Apps, today a much bigger outage hit Google’s email service, taking down the entire system, it seems.

Given that our company relies on Google’s Gmail and GTalk service, our operations came to a standstill this afternoon. We aren’t a large company but the losses are very real, especially in productivity. I wonder how the big customers of Google — folks like Sanmina-SC — are dealing with this e-blackout.

If an outage of this magnitude can strike Google, the company with a fearsome infrastructure, I wonder who — if any — can plan for the worst. I guess it’s time to stop picking on Twitter, which was fast becoming synonymous with the word “outage.” In fact, in recent weeks, not only Google’s services but those of Amazon’s S3 and Apple’s MobileMe have gone on the blink, leading us to rethink our assumptions about the reliability of the web as a platform. Clearly a lot of work still needs to be done.

How is your workday being impacted by Gmail outage? Share your stories with us.

Photo courtesy of Kyle May via Flickr.

  1. I’ve been using gmail all day with no interruptions.

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  2. I wrote a GMail outage survival post back in June. I’m used to seeing about 100 hits to it each time there is an outage with GMail from SERPs. It got over 2,000 hits in just two hours today. I spent my afternoon keeping an eye on the server and being thankful that my POP3 and IMAP access was still working.

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  3. [...] GigaOm Article: Gmail’s Out…Again [...]

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  4. Ever tried Zimbra? Not sure if they have what you need, but is seems picking up speed with adoption by schools like stanford.

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  5. Snehal Shinde Monday, August 11, 2008

    this is one reason why Yahoo! rocks big time…you wont see such outages every…that is cause Y! has a well defined process in place…customers is their highest priority…how many times have you seen Yahoo! Mail going down? I sincerely feel Y! is the underdog…when they do things right no one talks about it…when they do one thing wrong….everyone is out there yelling out loud…

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  6. This is actually the first time I’ve ever experienced a gmail outtage. I use it a lot for freelance and side projects and was not affected much. If anything, my addiction to check for new email was hurt, but nothing of consequence. Wasn’t too bad to be honest, and was back up and running in like 20 mins.

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  7. Hmm. To be honest — the break in email was annoying, but it was a pleasant disconnect. I just went back to real work ;)

    I suppose my sentiments would be different if it was actually down constantly. 30 minutes here and there isn’t that major for me, in the scheme of things. Especially considering how annoying it would be if _we_ were the ones having to deal with the outage.

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  8. I observe all my web app activities via gmail at my daytime workplace. GMail being down, was quite an inconvenience. Its very surprising to see that big shops like Google/Amazon have single point of failures and holes in their monitoring services that are unable to detect outages upfront.
    Apple’s MobileMe situation is little bit more understandable, as this is probably one of their first web app of this magnitude. They handle that magnitudes with their ITunes servers but most of the content is probably driven from CDNs.

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  9. Our gmail accounts, both personal gmail as well as several domain accounts hosted by Google have all been working today. However we did suffer with the half day outage last week that hit all our users and accounts (first time ever it hit them all once). Our normal outage pattern is that a user here or a user there has their IMAP access fail for an hour then everything is back to normal. Since we use the standard edition, which is free, we have decided to take the outages as “getting what we paid for”. After all, it works 99% of the time, and more importantly, they haven’t eaten any of our mailboxes (knocking on wood). However, if we were to ever upgrade to the $50 per user per year service for a domain, we would expect a better level of service as well.

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  10. The Internet as a service platform really concerns me, especially the same day Sprint announced its new mobile mail client. It forces its customers who use SpintPCS for email to totally depend on the internet for email service. I think that Sprints days are numbered, and the mobile application, which is creative is very raw with important features missing.
    A shame because the Sprint network is very solidi in So Cal.

    Apps like Igoogle rock though and If anyone gets Cloud Computing right it will be Google.

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