Gmail outage: Not enough reason to avoid the cloud

In case you didn't hear, Gmail had an outage yesterday. I wasn't affected personally - the company said it affected only a small number of people.

In case you didn't hear, Gmail had an outage yesterday. I wasn't affected personally - the company said it affected only a small number of people. And even though it was rumored that the outage could last close to 24 hours, apparently the problem was relatively short-lived and quickly resolved. (Unless you were one of those affected, in which case I'm sure it felt like an eternity.)

Gmail logo
Well, there ya go: If Gmail can go down, then certainly this push into cloud computing is a bad move, right? Wrong.

The cloud - just like the office network - is susceptible to outages. Stop for a minute and think about the e-mail experience in many office settings. E-mail comes into your desktop via a network-connected e-mail server that - like the cloud - is susceptible to glitches. If your e-mail goes down at work, everyone starts screaming at the IT guys down in the basement and kick into high gear to get the problem fixed. How many times have you heard, "We're working on it. We hope to have it back up soon."

Isn't that the same thing that happened with the Gmail outage yesterday? Is it any different just because the e-mail server isn't in the building or the IT guys aren't on your payroll? No, of course not. Just as the basement IT crew scrambles because they don't want their bosses and all of the employees screaming at them, so does the team at Google. They don't want their customers to be unhappy and go elsewhere.

OK, so there was an outage in the cloud. Big deal. It's not the first time there have been problems in the cloud and it certainly won't be the last. But so long as the folks who are running your cloud - just like the IT guys in the basement - are quick to respond when things go wrong, there's really no good reason to reconsider a move into the cloud.