Sep 2, 2009

[Gmail] The September 1 Outage

All companies have outages here and there and we've all gotten a little used to that. Twitter has it's share of fail whale sightings while Multiply has it's unexpected maintenance windows and even Facebook Apps like Mafia Wars have their periods of unavailability. Then you get the big boys like Google and such outages tend to attract a lot more media attention given the high profile nature of the company.

Gmail went down earlier sometime after midnight locally but pretty much early morning in the US. Given I don't have install rights at the office, I was unable to access the offline mode of Gmail via Google Gears and was left staring at a default message stating Gmail was temporarily unavailable. I know, the horror of no access to Gmail.

The Official Gmail Blog now reports that it was apparently caused by overloaded request routers, and I can certainly see how that might have happened. Naturally this has lead to a renewed series of posts about the viability of cloud computing and how secure such data is but frankly I'm pretty sick and tired of that kind of talk and wish that they'd just appreciate how quickly Google turned things around.

Tips for the future for all you geeky readers include (1) ensuring you have offline Gmail enabled so you can still access your email, (2) activating IMAP / POP access so you can try to connect to Gmail in alternate ways (given IMAP / POP access was still relatively working during the outage) and (3) keeping regular tabs on the status of all Google Apps so you know whether it's an offiial outage or not.

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