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Google Apps glitches show stormier side of cloud IT

By Juan Carlos Perez
October 27, 2008 09:53 AM ET

Computerworld - Google Inc. last week resolved a technical problem that prevented new Google Apps subscribers from accessing their Gmail accounts -- the latest in a string of snafus that have irked some systems administrators whose companies are using the online applications suite.

"This is a major problem for many of us, especially those that have sold the idea that e-mail in the cloud is better than anything else out there," one sysadmin wrote in a post on the vendor's Google Apps discussion forum. "We look really bad to our clients/bosses right now."

The Gmail problem began late on Friday, Oct. 17, causing the account activation process to take longer than the usual 48 hours. Google acknowledged the problem last Monday, but work on a fix wasn't completed until Wednesday night.

In a forum post, a Google representative apologized to customers and said that system reliability "is a top priority" at the company, which guarantees 99.9% uptime on Gmail for users of its fee-based Google Apps Premier Edition.

The activation glitch closely followed a separate problem two weeks ago that left some existing Gmail users unable to log into their accounts for about 30 hours. That same week, another bug caused the Start portal pages of some Google Apps customers to malfunction for 16 hours.

Juan Carlos Perez writes for the IDG News Service.

This version of the story originally appeared in Computerworld's print edition.

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