Two Office 365 outages in five days serve as reminders of cloud 'chaos'

The second Office 365 outage in five days reminded customers of the potential pitfalls of moving email to the cloud.

Downtime may be part of the deal when it comes to cloud computing, but the second Microsoft Office 365 outage in...

five days tested the patience of IT pros and consultants.

Reports of the most recent Office 365 outage first emerged on Twitter yesterday morning, and Microsoft later confirmed that some Office 365 customers were experiencing intermittent email access. That came on the heels of another outage Nov. 8, when customers experienced delays in receiving their email.

"It is a reminder of [Software as a Service] SaaS solution outages and the chaos it can cause," said Ezekiel Brooks, president and senior solution architect with Orlando, Fla.-based E. Brooks Consulting Inc., in an email.

IT consultants such as Brooks are feeling the pain from these Office 365 outages. Many have pitched Office 365 to clients as a more secure and reliable email option, but these recent developments are not helping further their cause. Just yesterday, while waiting to receive an email attachment from a client, Brooks recommended moving from an on-premises software installation to Office 365.

"Oh, the irony!" he said.

The Office 365 outages also help further the point of those who remain skeptical about going all-in with Microsoft's cloud service. Office 365 is a name that many recognize, but Microsoft is still fairly new to this game, compared to other hosting providers that have offered cloud-based Exchange for years. As such, Microsoft's cloud suite may not be the best option for those interested in moving Exchange email to the cloud.

"If anything, this boosts the credibility for other Exchange providers, who can now boast that they do it better than Microsoft," said Carl Brooks, an analyst with New York City-based 451 Research.

Editor's note: Microsoft's official statement on the Office 365 outages can be found here.

Let us know what you think about the story; email site editor Matt Gervais.

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How have recent outages impacted your view of Office 365?
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Don’t trust them!
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It’s just not ready for business users’ expectations yet.
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Much prefer physical Office etc.
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We're using an off and on-site solution.
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There is an element of lack of control over outages/outage windows etc. Also there is a lack of transparency when it comes to problems/issue resolution.
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having outages completely out of your control are not exceptable in a critical Enterprise environment.
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The variability of how important my company over maybe higher revenue clients may relegate resolving my issue into the back burner with regards to which client to get up and running first. To us, our business is as important as a Fortune 10.
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As the article stated - MS aren't nearly as experienced with cloud services as other better players in the market. Nothing against MS as a company, just always seen them as the "consumer" product rather than the solid "business critical" products of others.
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365, Amazon, BB Service, Phone Lines, Power Lines...well we´re only humans, no matter how much expertise or experience you have...
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Corporate oursourcing again. There is value in having an IT department as a stakeholder. Throwing them away, laying them off, relying on an outside vendor? That didn't work in the '90s. Sure ain't gonna work now. But hey, lay us all off so we all starve. What do you care so long as 365 doesn't become 340 ro 258? It's "cheaper" this way.
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I think that cloud based solutions are great for smaller clients who can't afford the upfront expense of software & hardware.
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When are the smart businesses going to realize that all these technology VPs/Execs are outsourcing Email just to put it on their professional resume? "I took XYZ-business into the cloud and saved millions". Here's the truth behind what those VPs really did: "I intentionally led XYZ company down a more costly and less reliable path for my own personal gain. I convinced them that this would be cheaper by looking only at the 1- or 2-year discounted price and we just ignored what the cost will be in two or three years down the road. The cloud provider didn't really lay out all the pricing up front, and even though the cost planning clearly leaves key issues un-addressed, I didn't ask about them. Like they used to say in the military - Don't ask, don't tell. XYZ-vendor also gave me some great kickbacks and why would I say no to that? After we get migrated into this cloud offering service won't be anywhere near as good as XYZ vendor promised, and it will cost us millions to email back on premise, but oh well, I'll be gone by then. Heck my superiors will probably brush this under the carpet because my poor judgement would reflect poorly on them. All is good, I never have to face consquences." Directors, Managers, Engineers: you've likely been with your business for many many years. Do not let some new VP/Exec come in and destroy a company that you have grown to love over the years. Remember, with Exchange, you can always do it cheaper than someone else who wants to be the middle man and do the exact same thing you were already doing before. Corporate Board Members: if you care about your profits, then don't let your CIOs/CTOs come in and notch their belt at the expense of your corporations investors.
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It shows that even with such a critical system like Exchange, Microsoft cannot be relied upon, and is even less reliable than other hosting services, which makes a mockery of the Office 365 offering.
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Growing pains, that's all.
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The survey doesn't actually catch the percentage of participants who represent large companies, who can afford the extra costs associated with a highly available on-prem setup. I would assume the majority is formed of these. For the smaller shops though, the cloud remains the only alternative to an unprecedented level of services, regardless of the inherent downtimes.

As a side joke, the cloud ensures that you might not be the only one experiencing the downtime: your business partner might be as well. Subtly, your business loss is just in efficiency, not opportunity.
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Let's see early adopter of Windows Enterprise products = fail. I like to keep my job so I'm not going to be recommending Office 365 until SP1... haha I love how I have to wait for the first service pack before I'll even suggest it to my clients. Email downtime = loss revenue.
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The cloud has not been good for enterprise messaging solutions.
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Outages will happen. SaaS is very viable though the proper expectations need to be addressed up front and understanding that the SLA is the only recourse a subscriber has is vital. So let's not throw the baby out with the bath water just yet.
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Nothing beats controlling your own environment.
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What with ADSL!?
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And MS have dropped SBS support so we can all use the cloud. NO THANK YOU
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Bring back SBS for SMB
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And of course all on premise exchange environments never have incidents or outages.... just like hurricanes never happer, planes dont fly into buildings or floods rarely take out datacentres... part of the course guys
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thats why I call it 0ffice 364
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Microsoft should explain the reason behind whether it was the software or the cloud hardware thta caused the outage
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Cloud is still nascent and a risk for mission critical applications
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No relation between the two Brooks', one assumes.
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Cloud computing is an alternative, not a replacement. And like any technology has its pros and cons and inherent flaws. Companies need to stop seeing this technology as simple - this is not a toaster - they are complex interconnected systems...that deserve our respect and proper time to consider all the variables.
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I can't afford any downtime on email as it form part of daily business communication activities. Cloud Computing reminds me of horror stories that were paddled by It Vendor prior to the year 2000.
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We moved to Office 365 we have been using for the last year without any issues,
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With our on-premises solution we had more outages than with office 365.
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There are always immediate shortcomings to any advancement in technology methodologies. The overall COB of a SaaS model vs. an on-premises is inarguable. Does any IT expert really think a shareholder cares about a minor delay in email over a 365 day period, when IT overhead is reduced and shareholder pay is increased? No and stop trying to fool ourselves into thinking otherwise.
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outages happen as anyone on IT Ops knows...but 2 in 5 days for a large mainstream cloud provider is a little much; hopefully things improve
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It seems Microsoft is intending to force its customers to move cloud services by making on-premise software cost-prohibitive. I will go open source before I am forced into a cloud service. I think vendors should consider this back-lash type of response.
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In europe I didn't experience any outage.
Perception and the creation of it is everything, i suppose.
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MS is a PC-Software company (PC= Personal Computer..)
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I would rather prefer to have my data on premise & know the reliability of my hardware than having exchange in the cloud and have these outages.
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I like to owe what I am paying for,
If it chrashes, it is my problem, and I can addressit.
In cloud case you dont know who is pushing the buttons
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shame
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Whoever trusts the cloud is an idiot.
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Does that consultant Brooks still has clients?
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