Mimecast Email Servers Go Down – 100% Uptime SLA?

No cloud service provider should ever claim 100% uptime and it seems that Mimecast had a very tough day yesterday. Its mail servers went down in the UK, bringing down its cloud mail management services and angering many of its UK customers who couldn’t access the mail service.

The company blames the outage on a series of servers coming down in one of its UK data centers. It later updated that a server by server check is underway and a good number of the servers have gone back up. This indicates the extent of the outage as well.

With emails getting throttled, there’s no surprise that users do not have any good words to speak for Mimecast. Some users complained that they haven’t been able to communicate with their clients because their mails are “in the post”.

The cost which Mimecast will have to pay in terms of lost user confidence and potential lawsuits from really, really angry users will make matters worse. What’s more alarming is Mimecast’s claim for 100% uptime in its SLA (Service Level Agreement). It is one thing to claim 100% uptime in marketing campaigns and another to legally bind into providing something which is not possible. According to many in the industry, offering 100% uptime in SLA is “nonsense” and it seems like Mimecast will have to face the brunt of their untrue claims.

With all the benefits which Cloud offers, the downside is equally significant. In private networks, server or system outages may be tolerated and seldom leak out to the press and even if they do, it’s not significant to impact the organization in any negative manner. With Cloud, it’s different. We have seen it often times that outages which may only last a few minutes create a ripple effect and many a times result in companies not able to recover from the bad reputation they leave behind.

There is no scenario which looks promising for Mimecast right now but the market has to respond on the alarming developments at Mimecast and market will take into account user sentiment which is definitely not looking good. Will a formal apology patch the reputation?

By Salam UI Haq

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3 Responses to Mimecast Email Servers Go Down – 100% Uptime SLA?

  1. Good points. Outages is part of the game and they will exist, regardless if on-prem, priv or public cloud. It’s how you handle them that matters. Yes, it is about marketing and risks and sometimes penalties (money and/or market reputation). No one should promise AND expect 100% if ANY part in the service or product can fail. And if you’re still cocky enough to promise or calculate (expect) 100% the harder you fall.

  2. cloudtweakssalmanulhaq MaxBuchler cloud outages happen I’ve explored products that provide financial security for lost revenue caused by outages for both provider and client.

  3. The following might help clarify what Mimecast means by their 100% Availability SLA:

    “There is some suggestion that a 100% SLA
    is impossible, because there’s always a chance a service will go down.
    What it really means to us is a commitment to a level of service we are
    willing to be held accountable for.  Anything less, and we pay for the
    short-fall. We give the 100% SLA not because we think we are infallible
    but because zero downtime is something so important to our customers and
    us we believe we should stand up for it as the gold standard to aspire
    to. And be accountable in the event we don’t meet it.

    Most cloud service providers don’t want
    to accept that level of accountability (and the cost) with customers. It
    is a very rare event at Mimecast but we were reminded failures can
    happen the hard way yesterday, after 10 years of consistent service.
    Yesterday we fell below that standard. We are sorry about that and will
    be working with customers affected by yesterday’s outage to arrange SLA
    compensation.” – Peter Bauer Mimecast Co-Founder & CEO
    http://blog.mimecast.com/2013/05/a-better-email-day-as-work-continues/

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