Ok Google, What Happened to the Cloud Platform?

One of the biggest cloud platforms has experienced an outage that affected the world. Reports from the UK, France, Austria, Spain, Brazil, and North America are among the countries experiencing the crash of Google Cloud. This disruption is affecting numerous services throughout the Google suite, including major platforms like Snapchat, Discord, Gmail, and Nest. The hit to Google’s Cloud Platform affected social networks and even people’s ability to control temperatures in their own homes and apartments. In a public announcement regarding the issue, Google stated on its Google Cloud Platform that the company was dealing with a multi-region issue with the Google Compute Engine.

“We are experiencing high levels of network congestion in the eastern USA, affecting multiple services in Google Cloud, G Suite, and YouTube. Users may see slow performance or intermittent errors. We believe we have identified the root cause of the congestion and expect to return to a normal service shortly,” stated by the company.  

Rarely lasting as long as this did, the outage is not the only one to occur to Google in recent months. While YouTube experienced downtime this past October, Google’s overall services also went offline in November from a routing problem. In late 2018 and beginning of 2019, Nest suffered from multiple of outages. Although there is no common route of the downtime and outages, reliability seems to be a challenge for the enterprise. After resolving this most recent issue, Google promises its consumers and clients that they will be conducting a “post mortem” and make the appropriate adjustments to prevent something similar happening in the future.

How Bad Was The Damage?

Additional applications that were affected by Google’s outage

Additional applications that were affected by Google’s outage

Despite the damage to Google’s brand, the consequences of the outage spreads to numerous other parties. During the 4 hours of downtime, YouTube calculated a 2.5% decrease in views in an hour. Google Cloud Storage found a 30% reduction in overall traffic. Some Nest consumers were unable to access their air conditioner control settings and some could not even unlock their own homes. 1% of Gmail users had issues with their accounts. Although that percentage may seem small, it renders to be millions of people who could not access their emails, proving extremely disruptive.

After the cloud outage, Google suffered another hit when their phone service went down less than 24 hours later. The phone service, Fi, prevented its customers from receiving or making phone calls. This is the worst kind of outage for a phone provider. Even though Google was able to provide a resolution to the interruption of service, people are furious that their ability to make phone calls during work, travel, and even in case of emergencies was hindered.

The networking issue now resolved, Google’s cloud services’ weaknesses are more apparent to the public making them more weary than ever. With the upcoming advancements to computing architectures, this outage emphasizes how little cloud coverage can stretch. As modern cloud infrastructures have cut the costs of being a technologically advanced business, the dependency on one service to perform increases.

Being the giant they are, this issue is not strictly affecting Google’s own applications. Other businesses that rely on the Google Cloud platform are consequently experiencing outages as well. Most companies the consumers use today have entrusted Google with their backends, and although the benefits outweigh the possible risks, it is important to brainstorm contingency plans.  

As internet-enabled technology becomes more ubiquitous in homes, the world grows increasingly networked. Companies are finding it more and more important to curate back up plans in the case that the services they rely on crash. Dependency on the cloud is fine, so long that the companies have a means to consider the risks.

What Does This Mean?

Google carries the expectation that they would always be reliable. After the outage, it has become a wakeup call to businesses to have a backup plan in a worse case scenario instance. This unfortunate event for Google further emphasizes the necessity to create an effective disaster recovery plan. Companies can continue to entrust the cloud architecture, as it has proven itself to carry immense benefits. Considering DRaaS to become IT resilient should be at the forefront of companies’ IT agenda to ensure they are protected in an outage.