Google has updated the SLA for its Google Apps suite so that they no longer make excuses for scheduled maintenance. Meaning that ANY dwntime, no matter how little, will be recognised as downtime and applied to the agreement with the customer.
At present, when Google alert users to “Scheduled Downtime”, this downtime is not covered under the SLA and the end-user has no retribution via the SLA for a refund.
Google have now fine-tuned their highly-distributed infrastructure so that servers can be taken offline one-at a time or in multiples and the end-user wont notice. This is nothing new however, Google have been able to do this for a while now, but have never included this kind of interruption as part of their SLA.
Now, should a service be made unavailable at Google’s end as a result of this downtime, the end-user is well within their rights to demand compensation under their SLA.
In 2010, the company says, Gmail was available to business users and consumers over 99.9 per cent of the time. This equated to about seven minutes of downtime per month. During that period, there was no scheduled downtime for end users.
Microsoft are currently rolling out a competing cloud-based product, Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS), which is intended to bring the Office suite onto the web with phenomenal new features and services. As avid Google Apps users, we’ve just started trialling the BPOS service from Microsoft and will post an update with our findings in due course.