Google finally reveals why Gmail, Youtube and other services suffered 45-minute outage – Details here

Few days ago, a global outage knocked out major services of Goolge, including Gmail and YouTube and on Friday (December 18) Google said that it happened due to a mistake with its system for identifying people online.

It is to be noted that Google, which is owned by Alphabet Inc, has many tools which allows the tech giant to verify and track logged-in users. According to a post by Google, the company started moving those tools to a new file storage system and during this the system misreported portions of the data. The misreporting caused a global outage of Google services on Monday morning with several of its services going down for 47 minutes. Google said that this is a rare technical misstep.

“Google uses an evolving suite of automation tools to manage the quota of various resources allocated for services. As part of an ongoing migration of the User ID Service to a new quota system, a change was made in October to register the User ID Service with the new quota system, but parts of the previous quota system were left in place which incorrectly reported the usage for the User ID Service as 0. An existing grace period on enforcing quota restrictions delayed the impact, which eventually expired, triggering automated quota systems to decrease the quota allowed for the User ID service and triggering this incident. Existing safety checks exist to prevent many unintended quota changes, but at the time they did not cover the scenario of zero reported loads for a single service,” Google said in its blog.

Google said in its post that around 15% of requests sent to cloud storage service of Google were affected during the global outage on Monday. 

Shortly after the outage, Google said that Gmail was facing an issue and the status page showed red for most services fior few minutes. “We’re aware of a problem with Gmail affecting a majority of users. The affected users are unable to access Gmail. We will provide an update by 12/14/20, 5:42 PM detailing when we expect to resolve the problem. Please note that this resolution time is an estimate and may change,” said an update on the Google Workspace Status dashboard, posted at 5.25PM IST.

It is to be noted that Google’s Gmail service was disrupted briefly on Tuesday too and according to Google it happened due to an issue with data migration.

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Gmail and YouTube together have over 3.5 billion global users and the outage affected all these users, which means that the problem was not small.

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Sagar Biswas

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