Cloud computing is the looming buzz word. All these magical “apps in the cloud” sound exciting… until the cloud fizzles on you.
In June, we switched our email service over to the Google Enterprise version for Education, and until this morning at 11:04am PDT I was a happy camper. My IMAP email connection was failing to connect from the desktop. When I went to the web version I got a 502 server error. I then IM-ed the office in Austin to see if they were able to access email. Everyone there is okay. I tried another computer. I rebooted. I thought of prayer, but stopped short.
Then I called the customer support number (11:30am) and spoke to someone who confirmed there were some intermittent outages, and I was assured their engineers were working on it. No problem, not having email for a short while was nice. Just for grins and a multipronged approach, I submitted a report via their web form (using my cogdogblog gmail address as a return), and got this response at 11:41am:
I understand that several users at your domain at experiencing 502 errors.
Typically, these errors are temporary, however, it appears for a small subset of our users this issue has persisted for longer. We’ve escalated this to our engineers with the highest priority and they are working diligently to resolve this problem.
That me now in the small subset club. But look! Those clever Google genius engineers have me as thei highest priority! They are working diligently!
Around 4:00 PM I began to wonder about that level of priority and diligence. I called again the crises support line and got the same answer. Engineers were working on it, blah blah blah.
By 8:00 PM, now 9 hours since the outage, I felt it was time to call and request something more specific of an answer. I got cheery Sylvia with the lovely British accent. I explained the lenght of the outage, that it did not feel like I was getting Enterprise service, and I was looking for an explanation and an expected timeline. I explained I was unable to do my work. I laid it on. I was going offline in 12 hours for 4 days and needed to take care of my work before I was off the grid.
I got a lot of sympathy.
And nothing else. She said she understood my frustration (I was ready for Sylvia to “feel my pain”) but she had no information she could share. Her hands were tied.
I fired off another web form complaint, requesting an explanation:
Subject: Email Has Been Out for 9+ hours
Date: Wed, 06 Aug 2008 21:02:47 -0700
My “enterprise” email account has not worked for at least 9 hours. I have called twice and all I am told is someone is “working on it”. However, I work online and I am crippled by lack of access to my email and I want a more immediate explanation. This is NOT enterprise service. I want an an exact explanation of the issue and I want to know a timeline when I can expect to be able to perform my work.
The “Google Team” (at least I am up from noreply) greeted me:
We’ve received your report and have opened a support ticket. The ticket number can be found in the subject of this message. Tickets from Education Edition customers are handled in a priority manner.
followed by a bunch of useless trouble shooting suggestions.
Hmm, no longer “highest” priority. Hmmm getting a form response email is zero priority.
So what I am staring at is my “dashboard” which informs me of an email service outage:
Your users may be experiencing issues accessing Google Apps services- As of 10:49:54 PM PDT on August 6, 2008
* Services impacted: Email
Our team is working quickly to resolve this situation as soon as possible. We will continue to post updates here as we learn more.
I started googling to see if I could find an answer why google email was toasted. I found this in the Gmail discussion forums
Help Discussions > Announcements and Alerts > Temporary error (502:
The Gmail Team is currently aware of a subset of users being affected by the 502 error on login. Our engineers are actively investigating the issue, and we will provide updates as soon as we have them. We appreciate your patience, and we apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.
Duh. And the “update” 6 hours later?
Update: our engineers have identified the source of the problem and are working to restore account access as quickly as possible. We know how important email is to our customers, and we are taking this very seriously. We apologize for this inconvenience, and we will provide updates as new information becomes available.
How the _____ is this “Temporary”??
And even more.
Gmail SLA. Google shall use all reasonable commercial efforts to ensure that the Gmail web interface is operating and available to Customers 99.9% of the time in any calendar month. In the event Customer experiences any of the service performance issues defined below due to Google’s failure to provide Services, Customer will be eligible to receive the Service Credits described below (the “Gmail SLA”).
This must be one geological aged month, cause at 12 hours of outage, I am not getting 99.9% uptime– I am getting 100% pissed off.
If this is an Enterprise product, I want Enterprise Support. I want answers. I want to know why the ______ I have no email for 12 hours. I want someone to explain the problem or connect me to someone who can.
But for now, Google’s cloud is just dropping the Hershey Squirts on me.
I made my own dashboard.
Tomorrow I am going camping for 4 days. I wonder if those diligent engineers who are toiling in the depths of the google email mine shafts are making me their highes priority. I wonder if I will ever see email again. I wonder….