Google: This is the cause of our major global outage

Google has released preliminary details about the cause of Monday’s global outage, which hit YouTube, Gmail and Google Cloud Platform services.

The company reveals that at the heart of the problem, now tagged as ‘Google Cloud Infrastructure Components incident 20013’, was the reduced capacity for Google’s central identity management system, blocking any service that required users to log in.

However, the root cause was a problem in Google’s automated storage quota management system, which in turn reduced the capacity of the authentication system.

The two main services affected were Google Cloud Platform, meaning Cloud Console, Cloud Storage, BigQuery, and the Google Kubernetes Engine. All users would have experienced an authentication error during the 50 minute outage.

Google Workspace, formerly G Suite, services affected included Gmail, Calendar, Meet, Docs and Drive. Again, all users worldwide experienced authentication errors.

It is the third global outage at a public cloud provider in the past two months. Google’s service outage wasn’t as long as the five-hour Amazon Web Services outage last month, but the wide-ranging impact of both incidents impacted each company’s tech support and their technicians’ ability to communicate with external customers.

Google’s incident is also reminiscent of Microsoft Azure outage in October due to a bug in Azure Active Directory that prevented anyone from signing in to Office 365 apps and Microsoft cloud services.

“Many of our internal users and tools have experienced similar errors, slowing our external communication with outages,” notes Google in its preliminary outage report.

Google intends to publish an analysis of this incident after completing its internal investigation.

Despite taking only 50 minutes, a widespread outage of core Google services such as Gmail and YouTube affects hundreds of millions of users. Google Workspace, for example, has two billion users worldwide.