Gmail's disappearing act: Blame the storage software update

Gmail's disappearing act: Blame the storage software update

Summary: Google said Gmail will return for all users in the next few hours and that lost email archives will return.

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Google said late Monday that Gmail will return for all users in the next few hours and that lost email archives will return.

Gmail went dark for a small subset of users over the last few hours. In a nutshell, some folks found their Gmail account empty and archives were nuked.

Needless to say, this situation had a few folks reconsidering their cloud computing thoughts. At the very least, backup plans were being concocted. On the Enterprise Irregular list, it was evident that backup plans---and specifically options for Gmail---were sorely lacking.

Related: Google 'does a Hotmail'; reports of deleted emails

Fortunately, Google didn't lose your data. Here's what Google outlined in a blog post.

  • 0.02 percent of Gmail users were affected on Sunday.
  • Google is "very sorry."
  • The data wasn't lost and most of those affected has service restored.
  • Multiple copies of the data was stored, but a software bug deleted some of the mail.
  • Now Google is restoring the data from tape backups.
  • A storage software update introduced the bug and Google stopped the deployment.

What should you do in the future? Your options are to backup your Gmail in an email client, autocopy to another Google account via POP and autocopy to a non-Google account.

Topics: Cloud, Browser, Collaboration, Data Management, Google, Storage

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20 comments
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  • RE: Gmail's disappearing act: Blame the storage software update

    When you outsource / move to the cloud / services you get what you pay for. To be fair Google has done great so far, but they're big enough to start having issues now. I don't trust them enough to dismiss the possibility that this wasn't malicious either.
    ITSamurai
    • RE: Gmail's disappearing act: Blame the storage software update

      @ITSamurai So they'd try to lose all of those emails? Yeah... That sounds like a great business decision. Imagine how that hypothetical meeting would have gone, "Let's make ourselves look like an awesome email solution by losing tons of email!"
      snoop0x7b
    • RE: Gmail's disappearing act: Blame the storage software update

      @ITSamurai What exactly was so terrible as opposed to an Exchange blackout in a large company. Suppose this happened in a company with 100000 users effecting 200 users (0.02%). The service was restored, backup procedures worked...
      prof123
      • RE: Gmail's disappearing act: Blame the storage software update

        @prof123 : In other words, GMail is as fault-prone as a non-cloud solution. Hence, we can erase any supposed reliability advantage GMail may have claimed.
        nomorebs
  • RE: Gmail's disappearing act: Blame the storage software update

    Let that be a lesson to Google... Don't cheap out on storage, buy EMC!
    snoop0x7b
    • RE: Gmail's disappearing act: Blame the storage software update

      @snoop0x7b
      Oh brother.
      rossdav
  • RE: Gmail's disappearing act: Blame the storage software update

    Buy EMC? You mean the company that was behind the Virginia DMV's 3-day outage? ( Read about it here: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/btl/virginias-it-outage-doesnt-pass-management-sniff-test/38609 ) Every product has issues. EVERY ONE. That's why you wrap them in process and procedure -- and you make backups.
    wcpreston
  • RE: Gmail's disappearing act: Blame the storage software update

    BTW, the point of my previous comment was not that EMC is bad. My point is that any good piece of storage can be ruined by faulty humans or lack of process. (The going story is that in the VA incident, someone replaced the GOOD piece of hardware in the fault tolerant system instead of replacing the BAD one. Ouch.)
    wcpreston
  • RE: Gmail's disappearing act: Blame the storage software update

    One last thing. There are services that handle backup of gmail and other online accounts. Check out backupify.com and backupmyemail.com. (I do not sell either of them, BTW.)
    wcpreston
  • Google created panic for the rest of 99.9999% of users. PERIOD

    Oh, pls. Google is one such company run most of thier apps over web in Beta for quite long time, and Gmail was such an app, was in Beta for years. Why in this world such a co. like Google kept it in Beta for so long, made it to general public after several years, went ahead against MS and filed a lawsuit against US State Govt. for they choosing MS Exchange as their email solution, oops...! I'm tired.

    Now, their site is down, Oops, Gmail ? Then, next week, say comeback and say 0.00001 % accounts are RESET (oops !), then saying it's only 500,000, next day no no, it's only 40,000.

    Give me a break ! They created a panic for rest of the 99.999999 % and awakened that Google is yet another Yahoo/Hotmail/Facebook nice to have app's over web, but, not reliable. Better keep it backed up in your local PC's, take 2-3 backup of it in external drives, have it backed up in some cloud servers like Amazon S3/Microsoft Azure thru backupify.com (I searched for one online backup solution yesterday and configured it) and have one of your external safest external drive in a firesafe box, etc.

    Pls. dont' come and support Google.
    jinishans
    • RE: Gmail's disappearing act: Blame the storage software update

      @jinishans
      Umm. Exaggeration much?
      You also have an unhealthy attachment to your email.
      rossdav
  • I wonder what that Donnieboy's take on all this will be

    since he made it a big deal when it happened to MS, saying use gmail because it won't happen.

    Will he have learned a lesson about the cloud overall?
    Will Farrell
  • And then there was...

    backupify
    Dietrich T. Schmitz, ~ Your Linux Advocate
    • RE: Gmail's disappearing act: Blame the storage software update

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz, Your Linux Advocate
      Backupify has had issues.
      daikon
  • Transparency is a beautiful, beautiful thing!

    .02% of users are affected and it creates a national news event. This is a glorious time in technology for consumers, individuals and businesses. I believe this new level of transparency is one of the biggest advantages of the multi-tenant cloud computing environment.

    For the first time the user community has a voice that is stronger than the vendor's and they know it. Previously the customer would be scrambling - "is it our hardware, Exchange Server config, the new SAN maybe, where's the DR plan?" Let's figure it out. Call the vendors, call the consultants, and work the issues. I always thought support payments for on-premise products were ironic since it is actually the customer that supports everything. Are other customers impacted by the same config/hardware/software issues? Is it our fault or the vendors? Who knows. "It's complicated."

    Multitenancy raises the bar for the vendor. .02% is not OK. Who's problem is it? Google's problem. Who's fault? Google's. Who pays the bills to get it fixed? Google. Who goes through the after event review to learn from the mistake? Google. Who benefits from the lessons learned? Everyone.

    Technology services are becoming a utility - always on, no excuses. This is extremely exciting.
    @...
  • It's not Linux's fault

    that Google sucks so much. I personally blame the LSE.
    iPad-awan
  • Lack of SDLC Process @ Google?

    Perhaps someone @ Google should explain why this 'storage software update' wasn't thoroughly tested before it was rolled into production. Here's a link for Google to reference in the event they are oblivious to the concept of SDLC:<br><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Systems_Development_Life_Cycle" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Systems_Development_Life_Cycle" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Systems_Development_Life_Cycle</a></a>
    cybersec_guru
  • Just rambling on to myself...

    Back up stored email to local computer? Okay: got it! Back up Contacts to local computer? Okay: got it (including continuous synchronization)! Then, the cloud server goes down. If the cloud server goes down and an email comes and I don't see it, how do I know? Kind of like an etree falling in the eforest... I have an email server on my own domain, forwarding a copy to Gmail for spam filtering, then downloading to me. Double backup. But still, not foolproof. I'm a fool, and I'm danged good at it.
    fjpoblam
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  • RE: Gmail's disappearing act: Blame the storage software update

    I think you're too hard on by Google. In such a large company may have problems because of the staff. Who prevents you to store e-mail archive on my computer?
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