Google Apologizes for Cloud Outage, Offers Refund

Google does a mea culpa as Google Compute Engine was out for 18 minutes worldwide Monday.

Mitch Wagner, Executive Editor, Light Reading

April 14, 2016

2 Min Read
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.

Want to know more about the enterprise cloud? Visit Light Reading's enterprise cloud content channel.

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.

About the Author(s)

Mitch Wagner

Executive Editor, Light Reading

San Diego-based Mitch Wagner is many things. As well as being "our guy" on the West Coast (of the US, not Scotland, or anywhere else with indifferent meteorological conditions), he's a husband (to his wife), dissatisfied Democrat, American (so he could be President some day), nonobservant Jew, and science fiction fan. Not necessarily in that order.

He's also one half of a special duo, along with Minnie, who is the co-habitor of the West Coast Bureau and Light Reading's primary chewer of sticks, though she is not the only one on the team who regularly munches on bark.

Wagner, whose previous positions include Editor-in-Chief at Internet Evolution and Executive Editor at InformationWeek, will be responsible for tracking and reporting on developments in Silicon Valley and other US West Coast hotspots of communications technology innovation.

Beats: Software-defined networking (SDN), network functions virtualization (NFV), IP networking, and colored foods (such as 'green rice').

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