Gmail Suffers an Incredible o|_|t@g3 (Outage)
Article by George Norman
On 01 Apr 2010
After Topeka CEO Eric Schmidt announced the rebranding of Google, the Mountain View-based search engine giant once again makes the news. This time the news isn’t as good – it would seem that Gmail has suffered a rather nasty o|_|t@g3 – that’s outage with the vowels replaced.

Gmail Engineering Director, Sam Schillace, explains: “If you logged into Gmail over the last hour (or visited the Gmail homepage), you probably noticed that something looked a bit off: all the vowels are missing. We realize this makes things difficult for all of you who rely on Gmail — whether at home or at work — and we’re incredibly sorry. We take morphological issues like this extremely seriously, so we want to let you all know what happened and what we're doing about it.”


The only good news is that the letter “y” has not been affected by this vowel outage.

If you’re wondering exactly what happened, here’s the lowdown. During a routine maintenance at a datacenter, the web servers started to fail – consequently the letter “a” could no longer be displayed to a number of users. The error rates escalated and the strain spread to other data centers. To avoid a cascading failure, the Gmail team had to implement a stopgap solution that limited the damage to the letters a, e, i, o, u. This is the reason why the Gmail vowel outage occurred.

“Having 80.8% of the alphabet available is significantly below the 99.9% full letter uptime reliability we strive for. Since identifying the root case of this issue, we’ve started bringing vowels back to Gmail, so you should see them back in your account within the next few hours if you don’t already. In the meantime, while you may still see this issue in Gmail's web interface, both IMAP and POP access are functioning normally. We'll post an update as soon as things are fully resolved and, again, we're v3ry s0rry,” added Sam Schillace.

Tags: Google, Gmail
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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