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Office 365 and Dynamics CRM Online users suffer outages

'They should call it Office 364, really'

Microsoft Office 365 and Dynamics CRM Online customers stateside suffered a major outage yesterday for more than five hours.

The issues first emerged at about 11am Pacific Daylight Time (7pm BST), with users in the US and Canada complaining on Twitter that they could not access email while administrators were unable to manage or provision accounts in Office 365 – the first time the service has gone down since launch in late June.

Acknowledgement of the downtime came from the vendor some 30 minutes later, with Redmond stating that "networking issues" were affecting some services hosted in one North American data centre.

"We worked to isolate the issue and we are beginning to see service restoration. We continue to investigate the root cause of this issue," said Steve Gerri, GM of the Global Foundation Services at Microsoft, in a statement.

Mail services were restored more than five hours later and neither EMEA or Asia Pacific were hit, said an apologetic Microsoft on Twitter.

The Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) – the forerunner to Office 365 – suffered several outages during the summer and customers had hoped to banish those problems into history by migrating to Office 365.

Microsoft has a financially backed service level agreements (SLAs) to compensate customers for downtime. It previously acknowledged that outages are inevitable, but this did not stop some users from taking to the social media platform to air their views.

@Artin, an engineer and advertising strategist at Quantera Software, said: "They [Microsoft] should call it Office 364 to account for the downtime," and in another tweet added, "Good time to crab a coffee, calm down and review the SLA."

Self-appointed tech guru at Sterling Technology Solutions, Armin Ghazi, said the timing of the outage was unfortunate as it coincided with moving a client onto Office 365.

"Don't mind outages, as long as there's communication ... Timetable? Reason? Will incoming emails bounce? ... Something tells me I won't have answers to these questions until the service is back up, at which point they're useless.

The timing of the updates was criticised by some users, who claimed Google kept users better informed in times of crashes.

SharePoint developer Raymond Mitchell tweeted: "It doesn't do any good to show service health if you don't update it." ®

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