Microsoft admitted yesterday what has been pretty clear to many of its US customers for the past few weeks – it has recently failed to match its promise of reliably providing some of its business services via the cloud.
“We aspire to deliver quality services, and in the last couple of weeks, we have fallen short of this aspiration," said Redmond wonk Morgan Cole.
"During this time, we experienced two network access issues in North America, and just yesterday, two brief periods of service degradation also affecting users served from North America."
“These incidents were unique to BPOS and not related to other Microsoft services.”
Cole issued a grovelling apology to Microsoft customers affected by the downtime.
“We know how important these services are to the daily operation of your business, and we take our responsibility as your partner and service provider very seriously.”
He then went on to explain what had gone wrong during the latest in what has been a series of outages in various part of the MS cloud estate.
“Specific to the August 23 event: our proactive efforts to upgrade to next generation network infrastructure caused unforeseen problems that affected access to some services,” said Cole.
But the company spotted an unexpected design flaw that had to be rectified, which led to the system flaking out for two hours and during that time some North America customers were able to gain only “intermittent access” to Microsoft’s BPOS service.
“The August 23 event was remediated, but the solution did not resolve another underlying issue which created subsequent problems on September 3rd and 7th,” Cole confessed.
“BPOS customers experienced brief periods of service degradation, primarily affecting the sign-in service and administrative portals. The impact during the afternoon of September 7th had more widespread customer impact, although the duration was relatively short.”
He added that the vendor isolated “suspect traffic” that helped stabalise the service. However, Cole didn’t elucidate on that particular matter.
At the same time, the Redmond exec couldn’t altogether reassure customers that they wouldn’t be hit by more outages to the BPOS system.
“Needless to say we, like you, find the events unacceptable and have 24/7 efforts underway to ensure we do not have a repeat of these events,” said Cole.
“We appreciate the serious responsibility we have as a service provider to you, and we know that any issue with the service is a disruption to your business – and that’s not acceptable.
"I can assure you that we are investing the time and resources required to ensure we are living up to your – and our own – expectations for a quality service experience every day.”
Perhaps Microsoft needs to sign up, not just to a cloud trust pledge, but also to one that promises better, more reliable up-time from its online services. ®