The Microsoft Messaging Exchange

Feb 1 2013   6:12PM GMT

Putting a positive spin on the recent Office 365 outage

Matt Gervais Matt Gervais Profile: Matt Gervais

Around 8:30 AM eastern time this morning, Office 365 customers in the US and Europe (at the very least) experienced an outage that affected the Office 365 portal, Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and Lync Online.

Back in November, there were two Office 365 outages in a span of five days. While IT folks are never happy about outages, it seems they’re going to be inevitable as Microsoft continues its transition to a services company.

“To think that any online service could have 100% uptime is not realistic,” said Dave Stork an IT architect based in the Netherlands.

As many have pointed out on Twitter, the outage appears to be the result of networking issues that led to Identity Services problems. Stork points out that a problem of this magnitude could not have been fixed so quickly if it happened in an on-premises deployment (assuming they are generally significantly smaller environments).

“Within an hour, [Microsoft] detected something was wrong, then investigated and mitigated the immediate problem so that users could login again,” Stork said. “When I think of most of the on-premises environments I’ve designed and/or deployed, I’m not sure whether I could do that within the same timeframe.”

The problem not only affected Office 365, but also Microsoft’s support site, Windows Azure and SkyDrive. The fact the outage was addressed so quickly points to the benefits of hosted services.

“Here we see another benefit of using a big services provider; the issue is probably still present but Microsoft could implement a workaround due to the scale of its service,” Stork said.

“[When we] see the impact of the problem and how much time it took to restore functionality, I think Microsoft did a pretty good job. That’s something that counts.”

* Update: Microsoft has reported that the outage was due to “routine maintenance.”

What’s your opinion on Office 365? Feel free to share in the comments below or email me.

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  • itfanguy
    Even Bill Gates has told us that we should wait for the 5th or 6th version of any Windows or Microsoft product to give them time to take the 'kinks' out. However, I do not think it's ready for release even though they are doing an in-depth job in advertising it! I got on the train this morning, and there were posters of office 365 engraved in every table!
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