Google SLA Quest

I host my email using Google Apps, and I even go so far as to pay the $50/year for “Premier” service to have no ads on my account. Having self-hosted infrastructure for 10 years at Refractions (I was President, CEO, and sysadmin for too many years), it has been pretty pleasant to have zero maintenance issues keeping my email online, my spam well filtered, my web pages up.

However, he who lives by the cloud, dies by the cloud.

Yesterday, my web mail access was unavailable for about one hour, exceeding the 99.9% availability per month guaranteed in the Google Apps SLA. For those doing the math, 99.9% availability means that 45 minutes per month of downtime is considered acceptable.

So, I am going to try and get my account credit of three free days of service (retail value, 3 * $50 / 365 = $0.41) from Google. (Does anyone else think that’s a pitiful SLA credit? If they go below 95% uptime (37 hours of downtime) they will credit you a whole 15 days of service – $2.05.)

Step one, who the heck do I contact? Unfortunately, the SLA is completely silent on the matter. Presumably someone in “support”, so I go hunting through the support pages. There we find a reference to 24x7 support for Premier customers (my $50 in action!). And at the bottom of that page, the answer:

You can submit a priority email request as follows:

  • Log in to your Google Apps control panel.
  • Click on ‘Domain Settings,’ then on ‘Account Information.’
  • Click ‘Contact us online.’

So, I submit my request for account credit, and wait. I get an auto-response right away saying they have created a ticket. So the clock is running on Google support, started at 4:30pm, Monday August 11. How long to a response? Updates will follow.

Update (Aug 12, 11:40pm): Received a human response from the Google collective. No answer on the SLA credit yet.

Hello Paul,

Thanks for your message.

I’ve reviewed your report and have forwarded the information you provided to the appropriate team for additional investigation. I appreciate your patience and apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.


The Google Apps Team

Update (Aug 15, 5:46pm): More signs of life at the GooglePlex:

Hello Paul,

Thanks for your response.

Our billing team is currently reviewing this case. We will let you know when we’ve processed your service credit request.

You can continue to contact the support team, who can advocate on behalf of your domain in situations such as these.

Thank you for your continued support and patience.


The Google Apps Team

Update (Aug 27): The big G has decided that the August down-times warrant a big Mea Culpa. Clearly committed to keeping faith in the cloud high, they are extending a larger credit that strictly required to all us Premiere customers (not just whiners like me):

Given the production incidents that occurred in August, we’ll be extending the full SLA credit to all Google Apps Premier customers for the month of August, which represents a 15-day extension of your service. SLA credits will be applied to the new service term for accounts with a renewal order pending. This credit will be applied to your account automatically so there’s no action needed on your part.

Top marks to the big G, way to not be Evil!