Gmail Outage Caused by Overload Servers

Posted on September 2, 2009. Filed under: News, Web | Tags: , , , |

       

     A worldwide outage of Google’s Gmail online e-mail system on Tuesday was caused by a traffic jam on its servers, according to Google’s official Gmail blog.

     The problem was that some recent changes designed to improve traffic flow on request routers, servers designed to direct Web queries to the appropriate Gmail server, overloaded the system after workers took some Gmail servers offline to perform routine upgrades.

    "As we now know, we had slightly underestimated the load which some recent changes placed on the request routers," Ben Treynor, site reliability Czar wrote on the Gmail blog. "At about 12:30PM . Pacific a few of the request routers became overloaded and in effect told the rest of the system "stop sending us traffic, we’re too slow!". This transferred the load onto the remaining request routers, causing a few more of them also to become overloaded, and within minutes nearly all of the request routers were overloaded."

     The overload resulted in people around the world being unable to access Gmail for about 100 minutes, Treynor said, though he noted that IMAP/POP access and mail processing continued to work normally.

     Gmail engineers were alerted to the problem within seconds of the failures and after figuring out what the problem was, brought additional request routers online. Now, Gmail is more than 99.9 percent available to users, he said.

    "We’ve turned our full attention to helping ensure this kind of event doesn’t happen again," he wrote.

    Google apologized for the problems, saying "we’re committed to keeping events like today’s notable for their rarity."

[Source]

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