John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Google Outage Caused by Asian “Traffic Jam”


If the Web has a single point of failure, you’d think it was Google, given the outcry over the the outages suffered by some of the company’s services Thursday. Something went wrong this morning and whatever it was had widespread effects on a broad spectrum of Google servicesGoogle Search, Gmail, YouTube, Google News, Blogger, Google Analytics, Google Docs. It outraged Twitter users and provided Microsoft’s (MSFT) Live Search team with no end of amusement. “Sympathies to the Google servers. Happens to everyone. But this is why the world needs more than one search engine,” it quipped in a tweet.

The source of the disruption? A system error that sent a bunch of Google (GOOG) Web traffic to Asia and waylaid about 14 percent of it, apparently.

This just in from the Google Blog:

“Imagine if you were trying to fly from New York to San Francisco, but your plane was routed through an airport in Asia. And a bunch of other planes were sent that way too, so your flight was backed up and your journey took much longer than expected. That’s basically what happened to some of our users today for about an hour, starting at 7:48 am Pacific time.

An error in one of our systems caused us to direct some of our web traffic through Asia, which created a traffic jam. As a result, about 14% of our users experienced slow services or even interruptions. We’ve been working hard to make our services ultrafast and ‘always on,’ so it’s especially embarrassing when a glitch like this one happens. We’re very sorry that it happened, and you can be sure that we’ll be working even harder to make sure that a similar problem won’t happen again. All planes are back on schedule now.”