Many people in the IT world see the hosted software application model, with its lower costs and freedom from installation and maintenance of desktops and on-site data centers, as the future of workplace computing. Many also see Google as being the future of the software industry, especially since the unveiling of its Google Apps packages this year.
And yet, these last few months have proven tough for Google's Gmail and both Google Apps editions, all of which experienced significant downtime in the middle of the workday on multiple occasions in March.
Significantly, this problem affected both the free Gmail and Standard edition as well as the subscription-based Premier edition, a situation that is leaving paying Premier users wondering about the real benefits -- as well as the potential costs -- of the SaaS business model.
To rectify the problem, Google is extending paid contracts and is still offering new customers the opportunity to test-drive the Premier edition for free until the end of April. This is a smart company, so it's not likely they'd be making such an offer without, at least in their minds, being able to live up to the 99.9% uptime commitment that is part of the Premier package's Terms Of Service. I wonder if many people will take them up on it, and if so, will that then cause even more problems?