Gmail service seems to be mostly restored after a major worldwide failure took it down for more than three hours this morning. Although a status update on the says “the problem is now resolved,” lots of folks on Twitter were still reporting otherwise
A post on the official Google blog was not terribly informative. It said the failure was first detected at about 9:30 GMT (4:30 am EST), but gave no further explanation. Problems also apparently affected access to Google Apps.
One obvious lesson from this, if it is needed, is that there is a downside to cloud computing, especially when you are relying on a service whose owner still classifies it as “beta.” For cloud computing to work in mission-critical business settings, it is going to have to provide several 9s or reliability. some services, such as Amazon’s S3 storage and EC2 cloud computing seem to be getting there, but Google’s cloud services have a long way to go.
And props to BusinessWeek tech chief Mauro Vaisman for alerting me to the problem early this morning.