The Google outage on May 14 points out the extent to which so many of us-businesses included-have become dependent on Google and other cloud-based services.
Back in the day, when our corporate network was down, heads would pop up
over cubicle walls saying things like, "Is the network down? Hey, I like
When we became more geographically dispersed and the corporate network was
down, instant messages would start coming in:
is the network down?
IDK. let me try.
seems to be. TTYL
Flash forward to May 14: Trying to search on Google or get to my Gmail
got me ... well, nothing. I went to Facebook and saw:
Anyone else not
able to get to Google?
The initial status updates on Facebook questioning whether Google was indeed
down or "if it's just me" were soon followed by intrepid reporters
asking for help in gauging the scope of the outage and deep thinkers wondering
if this was the death knell for cloud computing-the realization of that most
inherent cloud risk.
The fact that Facebook and Twitter lit up with posts questioning and
bemoaning the Google outage reflects the impact the outage had. It wasn't just
an isolated bunch of cubicle dwellers who were stymied in their ability to do
work; it was the universe of people who have become reliant on Google Search,
Gmail, Google Apps, Google Analytics ... the list goes on and on.
To read more about recent Google outages, click here.
And, is that the point? Could we be relying on Google and other cloud-based
services to the extent that business could be shut down on a global basis if
Google is shut down? Are all of our eggs in one cloudy basket?
Soon after Google fully returned to service, company officials said the
outage-which affected users across the United
States and in several other countries-was
caused by a traffic routing error. Too many users had been routed to the same
location, Google explained, adding that engineers were working to make sure
that the problem doesn't happen again.
That sounds good, but it's small consolation to any businessperson who
couldn't do business while Google was down.
You could argue that the outage was the modern-day, cloud-based equivalent
of the corporate outage that had people popping their heads over the cubicle
wall. The difference is that the cubicle dweller could contact his or her
system administrator, who would (at least theoretically) provide information
about what the problem was and when it would be resolved. Who ya gonna call
when Google goes down? Or when you think
it might be down? When I couldn't
get onto Google, I questioned myself, my computer and my Internet provider
before I made the leap to Google being the actual culprit.
I'm not saying that organizations shouldn't pursue cloud-based computing
because of this incident. The outage had so much impact because it affected so
many people, but also because people couldn't get to applications that have
become, if not mission-critical, then critical to most of our day-to-day
computing. I guess we just need to find the global equivalent of that sys
How was your company affected by the Google outage? Please let me know at