Google Teaches Us Why It’s Important to Plan Maintenance and Upgrades Properly

One would think that an Internet giant like Google would have their game together when it comes to providing uninterrupted services to the general public. Yes, most of Google’s services are free to use, but that doesn’t mean that the brand doesn’t have a reputation to maintain and customers to keep happy. That’s why it was so surprising when Google’s Gmail service went down for almost 20 minutes this past week. What’s even more surprising, however, is the reason for the email website outage.

What Were They Thinking?

We here at Alertra have mentioned more than once or twice that it’s important to manage your planned website downtime properly. The last thing you want to do is perform maintenance or upgrades during peak business hours. It’s only common sense, after all – right? Well apparently some of the programmers at Google don’t see it that way. After nearly 20 minutes of Gmail website downtime earlier this week, Google customers wanted to know what went wrong and why.

What Did Happen with Gmail?

It appears that Google was performing a routine update of their email service. As a new code was implemented during West Coast peak email hours, the Gmail service went down with the update. It only took Google about 20 minutes to roll back the code and fix the problem, but for some Gmail users those 20 minutes were too much.

Why would Google perform maintenance of its email service during peak email hours? It seems that today’s programmers are rolling out code as soon as the code is ready – not necessarily when it’s convenient for customers. Of course Google didn’t know the update would cause problems for Gmail users, but those users are questioning why Google wouldn’t just wait until a slower time of the day to roll out an update.

Another Lesson to Learn from an Internet Giant

Chances are Google won’t really lose any Gmail users due to the 20 minute outage; but it’s equally as likely that some customers have lost just a bit of faith in the reliability of the company’s email service. Sometimes when we learn lessons from Internet giants, it’s a lesson in what we should do. This is not one of those times. If you’re going to be rolling out new code or other updates on your site, make sure you do it during your site’s slow time and not during the peak hours when customers need your site the most.