One outage, on Aug. 11, lasted about two hours but affected almost all Apps Premier users. The other two, on Aug. 6 and Aug. 15, hit a small number of Apps Premier users, but both outages were lengthy, lasting for some affected users more than 24 hours. In all of the incidents, users were unable to access their Gmail accounts, getting instead an error message when trying to log in. It seems the tech gremlins that caused the problems in August are back again.
Google Apps is the poster child for the wave of SaaS (software-as-a-service) Web hosted office productivity and communications suites that are emerging as options to traditional on-premise options like Microsoft's Office and Exchange/Outlook.
SaaS suites like Google Apps have become popular because customers don't need to install them on their own PCs and servers, something that in theory reduces the effort and cost of software installation and maintenance. These SaaS applications are also designed from the ground up for Web-based collaboration of workgroups.
However, a major concern and objection to SaaS applications is their performance and availability, since they're provided by the vendor via the Internet and accessed by end users through browsers. When the applications become slow or altogether unavailable due to problems in the vendors' data centers, IT administrators have little to do but sit and wait for the problem to be fixed. This often creates extremely stressful and tense situations for them if the outages are prolonged and their end users become angry.
"The issue affecting a small number of Gmail users is being addressed, and many users have already had their service restored. All affected users should have their service back online today, if not already restored," a Google spokesman said via e-mail.