Response Time vs. Uptime for Google

lanir-shachamDo you know what the most hated chore at my house is? Folding the laundry. With two young children who constantly generate dirty laundry, there is always a large mountain of clothes that must be folded. In fact, we have hired a neighbor to come in twice a week and help with just this task. We pay just for the service our family needs, and the cost-to-value ratio is high.

Internal company services work the same way. For instance, Correlsense originally used Microsoft Exchange. It is a resource-consuming service and was at the root cause of several issues. Then one day our newly hired IT manager convinced us to get rid of Exchange and use Google Apps.

In the two years since we started using Google Apps, it has proven to be a great service for our company. However, when I heard the recent news about the Google claim of 99.99 percent uptime, I was a little shocked. Google has a great service and it usually works, but 99.99 percent uptime? Just the other day I couldn’t reach my documents and the day before I had a few minutes without e-mail. And that is just counting the availability issues. What about response times? Is Google measuring it? Well, I did. I used our SharePath for Cloud solution to measure user response time for external services such as Google Apps and And guess what? Response time is not that good, but it is something we get used to over time. When you wait 1 to 3 seconds for a page within Gmail, you don’t really think about it. However, that is nothing when compared to an online banking application where IT is ensuring that response time is within the 1 to 2-second range. Google Apps’ response time is much worse. It’s funny that Google is proud of the uptime, but it is totally ignoring the whole issue of the actual service its users are getting, which is response time.

Your company must not only have uptime, but also a quick response time to keep customers happy. And having one without the other is not much to shout about. It is rather like the laundry – it might be clean, just like your applications might be up and running, but if it is sitting there in a big pile to be folded, your lagging response time will negatively affect your users. The longer both of these lags go unattended, the longer they take to resolve.

I don’t need to fold my laundry. Ah!