Microsoft has fixed a nine-hour outage in its online Exchange service that crippled North American customers’ Office 365 and hosted Outlook accounts.
The outage struck companies in US, Canada and Mexico, leaving entire organisations unable to read, write or retrieve emails or seeing their email slow down to a snail's pace.
Users manned the Office 365 community message boards and Twitter to complain and vent their fury, singling out a flat-footed response from both Microsoft’s technical and customer service staff dealing with the problem.
Customers were angry at being kept on hold by customer support for up to two hours at a time and at not being given a fix ETA.
Microsoft finally announced that the problem was resolved late Tuesday evening (24 June) Eastern time (2am on Wednesday 25 June UK time).
David Zhang of Microsoft support told the Office 365 community message board:
“Investigation determined that a portion of the networking infrastructure entered into a degraded state. Engineers made configuration changes on the affected capacity to remediate end-user impact. The issue was successfully fixed on Tuesday, June 24, 2014, at 9:50 PM UTC.”
Zhang also issued the boilerplate corporate apology for any inconvenience caused but he could offer little to satisfy users or downplay the magnitude of the problem.
During the day, Jim1001 wrote on the Office 365 community page:
“Our entire corporation cannot send or receive emails from Outlook (Office 365 Exchange) or even the OWA web browser as of 8AM MST time this morning June 24, 2014! I have never seen a world-wide email go down like this.
MadBuffalo wrote: “Office365 is beginning to look like a very poor choice for mission critical services.”
Trec posted: "Tried to contact support by phone, and after half hour, the call was dropped on both occasions. It seems the support guys are saturated and there are not enough staff for an issue like this one."
For many, it was the second outage to Microsoft’s business-cloud service in 24 hours and it was proving too much.
Monday saw Lync Online, Microsoft’s unified communications service, slow down and crash.
Lync provides voice over IP (VOIP), corporate instant messaging, presence, meetings and video conferencing.
Problems surfaced around 11am Eastern time and were addressed by the Microsoft Lync team via Twitter later in the afternoon Eastern time.
RT @Office365 We realize some Lync users in North America are experiencing issues, we are working to resolve. Please check SHD for status.— Microsoft Lync (@msftLync) June 23, 2014
Service was restored by 5.30pm.
MMS Infotech on Twitter blamed the problem on a botched data centre migration by Microsoft techies, moving the relevant network infrastructure.
All.. Lync has an issue Caused by a migration of a datacenter by Microsoft!! Customers are seeing intermittent connection errors.— MMS Infotech (@MMSInfotech) June 23, 2014
ThomasGallaway, who was caught up in both the Lync and the Exchange Online crashes, wrote on the day of the second crash: "Down for 3 hours now. When going to Calendar outlook freezes. Send/receive works on iPhone. This sucks as we were hit yesterday by the lync outage. Today email. What's going on M$?" ®