Google apologises for Blogger outages

Legacy hardware difficulties caused multiple outages this week, affecting many bloggers

Internet search giant Google has apologised for a series of "unplanned outages" on its Blogger site over the past week.

Google's blogging service experienced five outages, both planned and unplanned, due to "power failures, fileserver trouble, and wonky network hardware", according to Pete Hopkins, a Google programmer and blogger.

Major Blogger troubles began on Saturday with an outage that lasted more than three hours, caused by the failure of both a "critical component and its backup", according to the Blogger Status blog.

Hopkins wrote: "Blogger had a significant number of unplanned outages this last week (forgive me my euphemisms?) and a handful of planned ones to clean up from the unplanned ones."

On Tuesday there was a planned outage to repair faulty hardware. On Wednesday another unplanned outage meant Blogger was down "for some time", leaving users without access to either Blogger or BlogSpot. On Thursday there was a planned outage to replace the piece of network equipment that was causing the outages, according to Blogger Status.

Google apologised "profusely" for the outages, saying that the lack of service to users was not acceptable.

"We really regret these outages, which were a nuisance (or worse) to you. The past week's performance was not representative of the kind of service we want to provide for you," Hopkins said.

Blogger's unreliability affected a charity blog created by staff at CNET Networks UK, owners of ZDNet UK, to promote a 400km charity cycle ride across Kenya for IT charity Computer Aid.

Helen Cooke, marketing manager for CNET Networks UK, said uploading content, especially pictures, onto Blogger has been difficult in the past. "Although we really like the Blogger interface, we have spent lots of late nights trying to upload new content and the service is pretty up and down," she said.

Google is in the process of replacing "quirky" Blogger hardware and increasing its monitoring efforts, to try to prevent these kinds of outage in the future. Blogger was acquired by Google in 2002 while a start-up, but is still running on much of its old hardware, wrote Hopkins. A new version of Blogger, currently running in beta, will run on hardware with "proven reliability", according to Hopkins.

ZDNet UK's Andrew Donoghue contributed to this report.

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