Unusual but tonight, Gmail was unavailable as reported by the Google Apps Status Dashboard. Besides the fact that more and more people rely on the number-one webmail interface to handle their e-mails, this problem has impacted other Internet social services like Twitter!
When the problem was detected by users, they immediately tweeted to ask if it was a local or global problem. Check out the result on search.twitter.com:
Other services more focused on security like the Internet Storm Center received a huge amount of notifications. What can we deduce from this incident?
First, not a surprise, Gmail can be considered as a critical service on the Internet (It does not seem unfair to compare Google with the delivery of water or electricity in the real life). Any minor problem is immediately detected by the users community and reported. Second, third party services can suffer of the outage like Twitter. They must be prepared to face a peak of network traffic or servers load.
Now let’s wait for some official communication from Google. They have to be transparent to keep the confidence of their users. A few days ago, Apache did it perfectly after a SSH key was compromised. They gave a detailed overview of the incident via a blog article. I’m curious of the Google feedback!
[Edit 03/09/2009 09:16]
Google posted more information about the issue which affected Gmail yesterday evening (GMT time): More on Today’s Gmail Issue.