Google Tightens Apps' Uptime Guarantee

Google is modifying its Apps service level agreement in ways that increase the company's accountability whenever the hosted collaboration and communication software experiences downtime, the company plans to announce on Friday.

Google's uptime commitment remains at 99.9 percent for the Business and Education versions of the suite, but the company will now log every moment of downtime, whereas before it only counted outages of 10 or more consecutive minutes.

In addition, downtime due to planned maintenance work will now count against the SLA guarantee. Previously, planned maintenance outages were exempted from the SLA.

These moves are the latest by Google to make Apps for Business more attractive to large enterprises, a market the company has been aggressively pursuing in the past year.

As it tries to woo CIOs, Google faces stiff competition from enterprise e-mail and collaboration heavyweights Microsoft and IBM's Lotus division.

Google Apps' initial focus was on small business and individuals, but Google has been progressively adding security, reliability and management features that enterprise IT departments require.

In 2010, Gmail specifically achieved a 99.984 percent uptime rate both for consumers and professionals who use it as part of Apps, Google said.

The company didn't provide the uptime of the other core Google Apps components, such as Calendar, Docs, Sites and Video, which are also covered by the 99.9 percent uptime guarantee in the Business and Education editions.

Google Apps for Business, formerly called Premier, costs US$50 per user per year, while Google Apps for Education and the standard Apps edition are free.

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