Published in Cloud

Google Cloud threatened to shut down a business in three days

by on03 July 2018

Self-sabotage on the cloud 

Any thoughts that Google Cloud might be taken seriously by business have been seriously damaged after a developer complained about how the outfit shut down a wind turbine project automatically twice due to retarded customer service.

While the situation has been resolved, and support people from Google's cloud have already responded, Google Cloud is looking like the sort of operation that you really don't want to work with.

The post was written by an anonymous administrator of a system that monitors "hundreds of wind turbines and scores of solar plants". The admin wrote about receiving an email from Google on Thursday that said the company's website and other services were blocked because of "suspicious activity".

"All my systems have been turned off. Everything is off. The machine has pulled the plug with no warning. The site is down, app engine, databases are unreachable, multiple Firebases say I've been downgraded and therefore exceeded limits."

The admin says he or she got a message saying that if the account owner didn't correct the violation by filling out the Account Verification Form and supply identification within three days, Google might decide to permanently close the account. In otherwords Google was willing to totally destroy an app critical to the business with only three days of notice.

"I hope (the Google Cloud Platform) team is listening and changes things for the better. Until then I'm never building any project on GCP."

In this case, everything appears to have worked out. The admin returned the filled-in form and the operation was back up in 20 minutes. A note was later added to the Medium post that said the Google Cloud support team had written and "assured us these incidents will not repeat".

But before the situation was resolved, the panicked admin had tried to reach Google customer service reps but couldn't raise anyone by phone or by chat.

However this means that if he had not been around and had the right information Google may have automatically followed through with its threat and shut the site down permanently.

More than 1,200 comments on message boards like Reddit and Hacker News about the quality of Google's cloud versus Amazon's. What many people seemed to agree on is that GCP needs to rely less on automated systems and provide more human support.

The lack of living, breathing customer-service help has long been a knock across many of Google's gadgets and services.

"This post is not about the quality of Google Cloud products," the admin wrote. "They are excellent, on par with AWS. This is about the no-warnings-given, abrupt way they pull the plug on your entire systems if they (or the machines) believe something is wrong. This is the second time this has happened to us."

On Twitter, Gartner analyst Lydia Leong put a fine point on the matter in response to this incident: "GCP is for businesses. There is no excuse for this kind of thing. Not a 'cloud' problem. AWS and Azure don't do this," Leong wrote.


Last modified on 03 July 2018
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