Yes, Google’s Gmail suffered a two-hour outage yesterday. Yes, various doom and gloomers yelled about the sky falling. No, neither Google nor any other technology is available 100 percent of the time. Yes, you can trust Software As A Service going forward, probably far more than many small businesses can trust their own servers.
No technology has been, or will be, 100 percent reliable. Not the telephone system of Ma Bell before the court-ordered breakup, not electrical power in your neighborhood, not even pacemakers. And if you can’t get 100 percent uptime on pacemakers, since they do have some failures across the installed base every year, how can you expect Google and the Internet to be there 100 percent of the time?
As someone who focuses plenty of attention on small business technology in general and backup processes in particular, let me say stuff happens, messily and often. Any small to medium business that honestly tracks its own downtime would be thrilled to be as reliable as Google mail.
Downtime in small to medium businesses differs from outages like Gmail just suffered. When a business has a server problem, it may take three or four days to get things working again. If your server hard disk crashes, or your file system gets corrupted, you have to rely on fast hardware replacement and fast data restoration. About one in five small businesses can get a crashed server back up in one day.
Every system fails. Outages used to be days, like the crashed server in a small business just mentioned. Outages with SaaS vendors tend to be an hour or two here or there, because they have the best technical talent money can buy working on a problem the minute it appears. There are glitches, they take some time, but you can get back to work in a couple of hours in almost every case.
I don’t know about you, but when my e-mail is down because of Google, my Web hosting service, or Internet connection problems, I feel great for the first two hours. Yippee, I can work without interruption on something that requires concentration. Next time one of your services takes a little break, try picking up a pencil and paper and work using your old mental muscles, not your mouse. You may be amazed how good that feels.
But after two hours, you’ll get antsy just like me, I promise. So enjoy the two hours, then get back to the grind.