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Outage Outrage

Google’s network bosses have probably been feeling the heat after their services were unavailable for over an hour yesterday; the outage, which affected many Google sites was widespread, being reported in the US, the UK, France, Australia and China.

The reaction from users of the interwebs was swift and severe, sometimes way too severe – some of the postings on Twitter (#googlefail) defy any measure of reason and coherence, and the people posting them either need serious psychological help, maybe anger management courses or at the very least a good slap.

The problem is that even though it is only a few years old, we all take the internet for granted, and almost as many of us take Google for granted – it is always there, it is never unavailable, you go to it, it fires up. no questions asked.

Google will, however, take this outage very seriously; they’ve staked their future on the concept of “cloud computing“, and anything which makes users wary about leaving their personal content in the cloud, and therefore potentially unavailable if there is an outage, is going to have serious consequences.

For those who are already sharpening their knives to stab Google in the back (or maybe the front) I would advise caution, and a hearty measure of reality.

A standard service level agreement in the technology business usually defines acceptable downtime as 0.001% per month, which is roughly about one hour.

Given that this is the first such outage for a long time, and it falls roughly within what the industry considers acceptable, I don’t think anyone has the right to complain in the way that some of the twitter-birds did.

It it even more interesting to note that where Twitter is concerned, it would actually be considered an abnormal month if the service hadn’t been subject to an outage of an hour or more.

That won’t stop Google pulling out all the stops to try and ensure it doesn’t happen again – ever.

Fortunately, for those of us not obesessed by hype and fads like  Twitter, which falls over so regularly it’s downtime has actually become part of the twitter-bird’s routine, Google outages are still so rare, they make the headlines when they do happen.

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