Anyone buying into a Web-based service knows about the SLA--the service level agreement. That's where the Web company makes a promise about uptime, the amount of time that the service will be up and running without any service disruption.
In most cases, there's a clause in the agreement that allows for scheduled downtime for maintenance. Now, Google--in an effort to further set itself apart from competitors--is removing that downtime clause from its customers' SLAs.
From here on out, any downtime will be counted and applied toward the customer's SLA. In addition, the company is amending the SLA so that any intermittent downtime is counted, as well, eliminating the previous provision that any downtime less than 10 minutes was not counted. In a blog post, Google Enterprise product management director Matthew Glotzbach wrote:
People expect email to be as reliable as their phone's dial tone, and our goal is to deliver that kind of always-on availability with our applications... In 2010, Gmail was available 99.984 percent of the time, for both business and consumer users. 99.984 percent translates to seven minutes of downtime per month over the last year. That seven-minute average represents the accumulation of small delays of a few seconds, and most people experienced no issues at all.
Read more of "Google Apps makes a new promise: No downtime" at ZDNet.