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Microsoft finally Addresses Office 365 Outages Promises Credits

Microsoft has provided a statement and apology via its blog regarding the recent outages that affected thousands of Office 365 customers and providers. The recent incident, which had providers scrambling for answers, occurred on November 8th and November 13th.

The November 8th outage was attributed to one of the many antivirus filters that Microsoft uses in order to manage virus detection and eradication. “One of these multiple engines identified a virus being sent to customers, but the engine started to exhibit a lot of latency even as it handled the messages.” Microsoft then misconfigured the service, which in turn caused a major backlog, and the delay users experienced.

On November 13th, just five days later users of the product experienced another outage. This outage had users unable to access their email accounts. This outage is being attributed to

“a combination of issues related to maintenance, network element failures, and increased load on the service. “ A gray failure occurred as engineers were moving load from one of the datacenters and weren’t notified of the failure. This resulted in the outage.

Though Microsoft states “We will be proactively issuing a service credit to our impacted customers,” it is not yet clear what value those credits hold, when they will be provided, or any other information regarding the possible credits.

The bigger issue here for most of the users has been the lack of information and reporting during the outage. Other cloud-enabled companies have been good about constantly updating customers and providers during similar outages. Most utilize a combination of social media sites like Twitter and Facebook and company blog sites. In the case of both of these outages the lack of communications to partners and customers resulted in lost revenues and anger for many, as reflected in the comments of the aforementioned blog post.

Everyone is aware that outages can occur and most providers expect to have minimal outages and service interruption. The key to managing these issues is to over communicate. As long as providers and customers are kept informed the potential for loss of business is minimized. Whether Microsoft will listen to their partners and customers and provide better communication is yet to be seen, but for now their track record during these outages does not have customers convinced.

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