Google knows Service Level Agreements are critical to enterprise acceptance of its hosted business productivity applications.
Dave Girouard, vice president and general manager, Google Enterprise on today's launch of Google Apps Premier:
Businesses are looking for applications that are simple and intuitive for employees, but also offer the security, reliability and manageability their organizations require.
Out of the Google Apps Premier edition gate (see "Google undercuts Microsoft Office"), Google has sought to neutralize enterprise level service level concerns by describing the new, for-fee version of its hosted email as including a “99.9% uptime guarantee.”
The Google Apps Premier sales pitch:
99.9 % uptime – Service Level Agreements for high availability of Gmail, with Google monitoring and crediting customers if service levels are not met.
The Google Apps Premier fine print:
Gmail Service Level Agreement highlights
Gmail SLA. Google shall use all reasonable commercial efforts to ensure that the Gmail web interface is operating and available to Customers 99.9% of the time in any calendar month. In the event Customer experiences any of the service performance issues defined below due to Google’s failure to provide Services, Customer will be eligible to receive the Service Credits described below (the “Gmail SLA”).
- Downtime” means, for a domain, if there is more than a five percent user error rate. Downtime is measured based on server side error rate.
- “Downtime Period” means, for a domain, if a period of ten consecutive minutes of Downtime. Intermittent Downtime for a period of less than ten minutes will not be counted towards any Downtime Periods.
- “Service Credit” means: (a) three days of Service added to the end of Your term for the Service, at no charge to You, if the Monthly Uptime Percentage for any calendar month is between 99.0% and 99.9%; or (b) seven days of Service added to the end of Your term for the Service, at no charge to You, if the Monthly Uptime Percentage for any calendar month is between 99.0% and 95.0 %; or (c) fifteen days of Service added to the end of Your term for the Service, at no charge to You, if the Monthly Uptime Percentage for any calendar month is less than 95.0%.
Customer Must Request Service Credit. In order to receive any of the Service Credits described above, Customer must notify Google within thirty (30) days from the time Customer becomes eligible to receive a Service Credit. Failure to comply with this requirement will forfeit Customer’s right to receive a Service Credit.
Maximum Service Credit. The aggregate maximum number of Service Credits to be issued by Google to Customer for any and all Downtime Periods that occur in a single calendar month shall not exceed fifteen days of Service added to the end of Your term for the Service. Service Credits may not be exchanged for, or converted to, monetary compensation.
Gmail SLA Exclusions. The Gmail SLA does not apply to any service(s) that expressly exclude this Gmail SLA (as stated in the documentation for such services) and any performance issues: (i) caused by factors outside of Google’s reasonable control; (ii) that resulted from any actions or inactions of Customer or any third parties; or (iii) that resulted from Customer’s equipment and/or third party equipment (not within the primary control of Google). Should Customer avail itself of this Gmail SLA, then this Gmail SLA states Customer’s sole and exclusive remedy for any failure by Google to provide the Service.
While Google is touting a 99.9% service level "guarantee," for the Gmail component of its Google Apps Premier edition, the SLA that qualifies the "guarantee" appears to provide Google with ample opportunity for use of the out of our "reasonable" control defense!