Google hedged its bets against SAAS downtime Oct. 30 by bringing the 99.99 percent uptime service-level agreement it offers Google Apps Premier Edition customers for Gmail to more Google Apps.
The SLA extension for Google Calendar, Google Docs, Google Sites and Google Talk applications comes after another Gmail outage beginning Oct. 15 crimped messaging and collaboration communications for some users. Google hosts its Apps for customers as part of its cloud computing strategy to lure customers from Microsoft and IBM.
Google doesn't announce how many users are affected in outages, but fewer than 0.003 percent of GAPE users were affected by the last Gmail outage, according to Matt Glotzbach, product management director for Google Enterprise. Given that hundreds of thousands of customers license GAPE for $50 per user, per year, that suggests a ballpark figure.
GAPE offers an SLA, greater security, 24/7 phone support and other perks unavailable in the standard edition of Google Apps, but today's SLA extension indicates the company is determined to decrease downtime among its applications.
Most Google outages to date have only affected Gmail, and occasionally, Docs. Extending the SLA to Calendar, the Docs word processing, spreadsheet and presentations software, the Sites wiki and the Talk instant messaging and VOIP application may not be a big stretch for Google.
Glotzbach noted in a blog post Oct. 30: "We have been delivering high levels of reliability across all these products, so it makes sense to extend our guarantees to them."
This is fine news for Google GAPE customers, but the bigger story for all Google Apps customers is that Google is trying hard to shore up its downtime issues with the SLA pledge and promises for fuller disclosure. Moreover, the company offered credits for GAPE during an earlier outage in August.
Glotzbach also took the time to polish Google Apps' laurels, noting that Google has suffered only an aggregate 10 to 15 minutes of downtime per month over the last year of the service.
He cited data from the Radicati Group, which found that on-premises e-mail solutions from Microsoft, IBM and Novell averaged 30 to 60 minutes of unscheduled downtime and an additional 36 to 90 minutes of planned downtime per month. Here is the graph.
Funny that Google should draw the inevitable SAAS vs. on-premises comparison given the bomb Microsoft just dropped Oct. 28 at its Professional Developers Conference. Microsoft surprised people by announcing it is building a SAAS version of its Office productivity suite.
eWEEK's Joe Wilcox provides solid coverage here. The impetus for the move is that Microsoft is finally admitting that it must compete with Google in SAAS if it wants to maintain viability in a world that is drawing more and more productivity and collaboration software from the cloud computing well.