Service Provider Cloud

Google Apologizes for Cloud Outage, Offers Refund

Google tripped over its own shoelaces on its journey to the enterprise cloud this week as its Google Compute Engine suffered an 18-minute worldwide outage Monday. The company apologized Wednesday and offered customers partial refunds on monthly charges.

"We recognize the severity of this outage, and we apologize to all of our customers for allowing it to occur. As of this writing, the root cause of the outage is fully understood and GCE is not at risk of a recurrence," Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) said in a public status update Wednesday, signed by Benjamin Treynor Sloss, Google VP 24x7. The company's "engineering teams will be working over the next several weeks on a broad array of prevention, detection and mitigation systems intended to add additional defense in depth to our existing production safeguards."

Google is offering the refund for 10% of GCE and 25% of VPN monthly charges, in excess of its service level agreements but "in keeping with [their] spirit," Google said.

In a detailed explanation, Google attributes the outage to an error in reconfiguring network IP blocks.

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The outage comes at an inopportune time, as the company make a big push to win enterprise cloud business. The company hired VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW) co-founder Diane Greene to head up its enterprise business late last year, and Urs Hölzle, Google senior VP technical infrastructure, has said publicly more than once that he thinks the enterprise cloud business could be bigger for Google than its current mainstay ad business. (See Google: 'Dead Serious' About Enterprise Cloud.)

While the outage is hardly a plus for Google, at least the public notice and refund shows Google is taking the matter seriously.

The same can't be said for an incident on April 1, when Google included an April Fool joke in Gmail, adding a "mic drop" button to sent messages and muting all replies. While the prank wasn't added to the enterprise version of Gmail, several users who use their Gmail accounts for business said they feared losing business because of it. (See Google Practical Joke Goes Horribly Wrong.)

— Mitch Wagner, Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading.

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