Updated Microsoft's online authentication systems are inaccessible for at least some customers today, locking those subscribers out of tons of Redmond-hosted services if they are not already logged in.
And, according to the software giant, its attempt to rectify the system failure, by backing out a recent change, did not work.
Microsoft, via its cloud platform's status page, said the breakdown started around 2125 UTC (1425 PDT) on September 28. "Customers using Azure Active Directory may experience HTTP 503 errors when accessing the Azure portal," the notification message said, promising further updates as events warrant.
The message was later tweaked to:
Starting at approximately 21:25 UTC, a subset of customers in the Azure Public and Azure Government cloud may encounter errors performing authentication operations for a number of Microsoft or Azure services, including access to the Azure Portals. Engineering teams have been engaged and are investigating. The next update will be provided in 60 minutes or as events warrant.
The Windows giant also tweeted:
⚠️ We are investigating an issue impacting Azure AD Authentication. More information and updates can be found on the Azure Status page at https://t.co/Dw19fIGsXf— Azure Support (@AzureSupport) September 28, 2020
Since Microsoft Azure acknowledged the issue, some 2,500 reports of problems accessing MICROS~1's sprawling internet platform, from Azure cloud services to website hosting and virtual machines, have been registered at DownDetector.com. Via Twitter, people have reported that Microsoft's Power BI is inaccessible and complained the Azure status page didn't or still doesn't accurately reflect the status of Azure services.
The Azure Status Page, which showed no problems in its grid of services initially, has since been revised to reflect at least problems with Active Directory authentication. In August, Microsoft acknowledged its status page doesn't always contain details about service problems, where "doesn't always" means it misses "more than 95 per cent of our incidents."
Not just Azure cloud platform hit by today's downtime
Beyond Microsoft's public and government cloud wobbles – good luck, JEDI – the authentication system outage has hit its other online services, including Outlook, Office, Teams, and Microsoft Authenticator. If you're not already logged in, it appears, you may be unable to get in and use the cloud-based applications as a result of the ongoing downtime.
In a status note on its Microsoft 365 site, the biz said it tried backing out an update in hope of undoing the IT breakdown and found that didn't help. It's still working on the problem:
Title: Can't access Microsoft 365 services
User Impact: Users may be unable to access multiple Microsoft 365 services.
More info: Users would be unable to access Outlook.com, Microsoft Teams including Teams Live Events, and Office.com. Additionally, Power Platform and Dynamics365 properties are affected by this incident.
Existing customer sessions are not impacted and any user who is logged in to an existing session would be able to continue their sessions.
Current status: We've identified that reverting the recent change did not alleviate impact to Microsoft services as expected. We're working to explore additional options for mitigation.
Scope of impact: Any user may experience access problems for Microsoft 365 services.
A Microsoft spokesperson is looking into our inquiry about the outage. We will update this story if there's anything more to tell. ®
Updated to add
Just before 0100 UTC, September 29, Microsoft said it had put a fix in place and people should start to see access to Azure Active Directory authentication, at least, recover:
We have applied mitigation steps for an issue impacting Azure AD Authentication, and most customers should see signs of recovery at this time. More information and updates can be found on the Azure Status page at https://t.co/Dw19fIGsXf— Azure Support (@AzureSupport) September 29, 2020