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Microsoft Struggles with Cloud Availability Issues

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Posted on August 26th, 2010 by Victoria Pal in Tech
Microsoft CloudOn Monday Microsoft experienced a two-hour long outage of its hosted software services in North America due to a network issue, reports IDG. The downtime, which took place between 8:30 am and 10:45 am US Eastern Time, affected the Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) as well as number of other hosted services including Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Office Live Meeting, Exchange Hosted Services, and Office Communications Online. Access to Microsoft’s Administration Center, Sign-In application and other online services was also impacted by the outage.

Microsoft issued a statement to warn the potentially affected customers that they “may experience timeouts with multiple services” and claim that “During the duration of the issue, customers were updated regularly via our normal communication channels”. However, the problems provoked a strong reaction and were widely discussed in the official Microsoft Online Services discussion forums. Some of the users pointed to other recent outages and performance issues, as well as about sluggish communication about them from Microsoft.

Despite the fact that Microsoft have apologized officially for the outage, this issue has once again put forth the concerns of the performance, availability and reliability of the cloud applications. The complete reliance on a third party leaves the IT departments with their hands tied whenever the cloud services become partially or completely unavailable as a result of slowdowns or outages in external data centers. And cases like these are a major discouraging factor for most IT executives who then have to field complaints from their frustrated users.

Nevertheless, more and more businesses are looking skywards because the cloud services allow IT departments to hand over to vendors the tedious work of maintaining and troubleshooting the software, and lets companies cut down on hardware costs.

But it was not only the clouds that had problems these days. As you can see in our Hurricane Season Web Performance and Uptime Report, yesterday our system recorded high response time for one of the monitored websites - salvationarmy.org - for almost 2 hours between 8PM and 10PM EST. The site was unreachable from all monitoring nodes - US East Coast, West Coast and Central America. Most likely the issue was caused by high load of the server, or by system maintenance like backup or database optimization.

Of course, unplanned outages like these can happen to every company, even to the best ones. Fortunately, there is a simple solution that can help you minimize the downtime, reduce the recovery costs and save your company’s image - a reliable monitoring service.  So why not get started now?

Other sources:

Datamation
The Register

Victoria Pal

Doesn't like queuing (particularly at Wimbledon). Likes travelling, tennis and reading. Loves working as a Project Manager at WebSitePulse.

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