Google Shoots for 99.99 Percent App Reliability

Paul Lilly

Google isn't messing around when it comes to uptime. In a recent blog post, the search titan vowed to make email as reliable as a phone's dial tone, which translates to getting Google Appls to 99.99 percent reliable.

"Unlike most providers, we don't plan for our users to be down, even when we're upgrading our services or maintaining our systems," Google said . "For that reason, we're removing the [Google Apps] SLA (service level agreement) clause that allows for scheduled downtime. Going forward, all downtime will be counted and applied towards the customer's SLA. We are the first major cloud provider to eliminate maintenance windows from their service level agreement.

"We're also amending our SLA so that any intermittent downtime is counted. Previously, a period of less than ten minutes was not included."

These are lofty goals for Google, but are they unreasonable? According to Google, its Gmail service was available 99.984 percent of the time in 2010, both on the consumer and business side. That translates to 7 minutes of downtime per month, which is the accumulation of smalle delays, usually no more than a few seconds, Google says.

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