Should Gmail outage impact cloud computing image?

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Last week's Google Gmail service outage has lead to plenty of hysteria suggesting that cloud computing simply won't be reliable enough for enterprise users. The outage, which lasted for several hours, left many without access to their email, calendar and contacts yet reports of the death of cloud computing in the enterprise seem heavily overstated. The facts of the matter are that a few hours outage is not dissimilar to typical downtime experienced in corporate email as a consequence of planned maintenance, upgrades or, yes, accidents which, it seems, are bound to happen in and out of the cloud.

The latest outage was Gmail's sixth in the last eight months but, Forrester analyst, Sheri McLeish told Information Week that the service is no less reliable than most hosted services or Exchange software managed by internal IT.

In addition, local client outages have been a fact of life and some commentators have argued that the restoration time for last week's event was faster than they might have experienced in outages experienced in such environments.

Nevertheless, the timing is unfortunate for Google which is trying to push uptake of its Apps by enterprises and left the door open for Microsoft to push it's Windows Live offering on Twitter and various blogs.

Stewart Baines

I've been writing about technology for nearly 20 years, including editing industry magazines Connect and Communications International. In 2002 I co-founded Futurity Media with Anthony Plewes. My focus in Futurity Media is in emerging technologies, social media and future gazing. As a graduate of philosophy & science, I have studied futurology & foresight to the post-grad level.