As reported by CIO magazine, Gmail users experienced outages or delayed message delivery from roughly 10A this morning Eastern until mid-afternoon. The problem affected something less than half of Google's 425 million users. The Google Apps word processing and presentation applications also had a problem, covering roughly a similar time period, but Google hasn't indicated whether the two issues are related.
Quick Analysis It is often said that Google's overall service level is superior to what most on-premises providers could offer. The Glitch Reporter is inclined to agree. But what's different, among other things, is that the outage affects so many people, and thus increases the potential for cascading impacts, if not failures. This can happen, for instance, for workflows that are dependent upon email for notification or relaying messages.
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