Google themselves use Gmail, so someone certainly noticed that the service was down.
Gmail email was down yesterday, you may have noticed. Certainly you might if you were one of their 113m strong userbase although I imagine that most are consumers and because it happened in business time it may not have had that significant an impact.
The service fell over because one of Google’s European datacentres failed which in turn had a knock on effect on some of their other datacentres. I have recently been visiting datacentres with a view to planning our next phase of expansion. Datacentres are rated in Tiers from 1 to 4, 4 being the most secure reliable and therefore most expensive.
In a Tier 4 datacentre you will find the ultimate in security mechanisms, biometric security, weighing machines etc. You also find the highest levels of resilience to power and connectivity failure. I was interested to learn recently though that there is a sensible limit to how much it is worth spending on a data centre as even Tier 4’s have been shown by modelling that they are vulnerable to catastrophic chain reaction failures .
I don’t know what Tier datacentres are operated by Google but they do employ someone specifically to manage reliability of their site. It just goes to show that when software and computers are concerned there is no such things as a 100% reliability.
In this case if you are totally reliant on a single email system it seems that there will always be a potential reliability issue. What you can do is have a totally separate mail system coming from a separate platform. I use both timico.co.uk from an Exchange server and trefor.net from our ISP platform.
Although I don’t ever recall the ISP mail platform letting me down certainly the Microsoft product has occasionally given me cause to resort to the backup. With a backup you can always call someone and ask them to resend to the other mail address and also use it yourself to send.
Most people have a personal email address but you might not want to give that out to a business acquaintance and in any event this type of email typically has file size storage and download restrictions. I’m sure others will have views on this subject but that’s my five pence worth.