Feeds

Google blames Gmail outage on data centre collapse

Domino effect crashes through the cloud

Boost IT visibility and business value

Google has apologised for yesterday’s major Gmail meltdown after some of its data centres in Europe failed to cope with a routine maintenance event.

The company’s web-based email service was flat as a pancake for about three hours yesterday morning as Mountain View engineers attempted to fix the problem, which affected vast swathes of the firm’s 113m strong global user base.

Businesses and individuals were unable to gain access to their email accounts via the internet until around 12:30 GMT on Shrove Tuesday.

“This morning, there was a routine maintenance event in one of our European data centers," said Google’s site reliability boss Acacio Cruz yesterday. "This typically causes no disruption because accounts are simply served out of another data centre.

“Unexpected side effects of some new code that tries to keep data geographically close to its owner caused another data centre in Europe to become overloaded, and that caused cascading problems from one data center to another. It took us about an hour to get it all back under control.”

Google said it had fixed the bugs and also shared the pain with its users.

“We run Google on Gmail, so outages like this affect us the same way they affect you. We always investigate the root causes of rare outages like this one, so we can prevent similar problems in the future,” said Cruz.

Many complained on the Google Apps and Gmail forums about the lengthy outage, while others worked around the problem by accessing their email using Imap on a desktop client or through their iPhone or other handset apps.

Premier Edition Google Apps customers such as The Guardian and Salesforce have been promised at least 99.9 per cent Gmail uptime per month. If Google fails to deliver on the terms of its service level agreement it has to cough up a penalty.

That translates as a commitment to no more than 45 minutes of downtime a month - so presumably, affected businesses will be expecting to see a cheque in the post.

In fact Google is offering paying customers who cough up $50 per user, per year for the service, 15 days free credit, according to Associated Press. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Canadian ISP Shaw falls over with 'routing' sickness
How sure are you of cloud computing now?
Don't call it throttling: Ericsson 'priority' tech gives users their own slice of spectrum
Actually it's a nifty trick - at least you'll pay for what you get
Three floats Jolla in Hong Kong: Says Sailfish is '3rd option'
Network throws hat into ring with Linux-powered handsets
Fifteen zero days found in hacker router comp romp
Four routers rooted in SOHOpelessly Broken challenge
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
US TV stations bowl sueball directly at FCC's spectrum mega-sale
Broadcasters upset about coverage and cost as they shift up and down the dials
PwC says US biz lagging in Internet of Things
Grass is greener in Asia, say the sensors
Ofcom sees RISE OF THE MACHINE-to-machine cell comms
Study spots 9% growth in IoT m2m mobile data connections
O2 vs Vodafone: Mobe firms grab for GCHQ, gov.uk security badge
No, the spooks love US best, say rival firms
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.