Will this get the big enterprises signing up?
Google has continued its efforts to woo the enterprise space by adjusting the SLAs for its Apps platform, removing a clause that allows for scheduled downtime.
Matthew Glotzbach, Google Enterprise product management director, said on the company’s blog that Gmail was available 99.984% of the time during 2010, which works out at seven minutes of downtime per month over the last year.
Glotzbach said this compares favourably to on-premise email systems, and quoted research from Radicati Group that found on-premise email averaged 3.8 hours of downtime per month.
This makes Gmail, "32 times more reliable than the average email system, and 46 times more available than Microsoft Exchange", Glotzbach added. That’s not enough for Google, however, and the firm is planning to improve those figures even more.
"Unlike most providers, we don’t plan for our users to be down, even when we’re upgrading our services or maintaining our systems. For that reason, we’re removing the SLA clause that allows for scheduled downtime," he wrote. "Going forward, all downtime will be counted and applied towards the customer’s SLA. We are the first major cloud provider to eliminate maintenance windows from their service level agreement."
"We’re also amending our SLA so that any intermittent downtime is counted. Previously, a period of less than ten minutes was not included. We believe any instance that causes our users to experience downtime should be avoided – period," Glotzbach added.
Glotzbach said Google wants to make its Apps platform as reliable as a telephone. "Email is much more complex than your home phone, so making it as reliable as the dial tone is no mean feat. Despite our best efforts, we will have outages in the future. But we’re proud of our track record so far and we’re working hard to make it even better. Every time you reach for your phone you expect it to work. And we believe that is a worthwhile benchmark," he wrote.
Google has been making a big push to get enterprises signed up for the paid version of its Apps suite, which includes Docs, Gmail and Calendar. Although relatively popular with SMBs, issues surrounding security and reliability have often been mentioned as roadblocks stopping bigger businesses from joining.
Rentokil signed up 35,000 users, French manufacturer Valeo moved 30,000 workers to Google Apps and food retailer Ahold shifted 55,000 employees to the cloud-based service. Other organisations using Google Apps include Capgemini, the City of Los Angeles, Virgin America and salesforce.com.
Google is looking to take on Microsoft and Lotus as the big enterprise email and productivity suite of choice as the company tries to find sources of revenue beyond its search advertising stronghold.