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Google blames services downtime on unbalanced loads

Users suffered for 18 minutes
Wed Dec 12 2012, 11:14
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INTERNET SERVICES PLAYER Google has explained the circumstances that led to the 18 minutes of downtime its cloud services and its users suffered earlier this week.

Google services went down on Monday and created the sort of panic that you associate with monkeys and intricate dominoes set ups.

No one knew what was happening and few could email each other to ask. In a statement put out to its customers Google explained all, saying that it was down to poor load balancing.

"Between 8:45 AM PT and 9:13 AM PT, a routine update to Google's load balancing software was rolled out to production. A bug in the software update caused it to incorrectly interpret a portion of Google data centers as being unavailable. The Google load balancers have a failsafe mechanism to prevent this type of failure from causing Googlewide service degradation, and they continued to route user traffic," it said.

"As a result, most Google services, such as Google Search, Maps, and Adwords, were unaffected. However, some services, including Gmail, that require specific data center information to efficiently route users' requests, experienced a partial outage."

While Search, Maps and Adwords were okay, other services did less well as for 18 minutes people had problems with Google Drive, Google Chat, Google Calendar, Google Play and Google Chrome Sync.

Still, there was a lot of fuss over what Google says was a limited problem. "Google's monitoring systems detected the problem at 9:06 AM. The Google Engineering team analyzed the issue, and reverted the load balancing update at 9:13 AM," it said.

"Service operations began to return to normal and the rollout finished at 9:18 AM. Gmail and most affected services returned to normal operation by 9:16 AM; a few services, such as Google Chat, took an additional few minutes to reestablish connections."

According to the Google Apps team, all efforts are being made to make sure that the same thing does not happen again. It has already corrected the error in load balancing. µ


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