Microsoft explains recent Office 365 outage, discounts bills by 25%

By Tom Warren, on 19th Aug 11 4:43 pm with 12 Comments

Microsoft is taking 25% off customers bills who were affected by a recent cloud outage.

A large number of U.S. users of Office 365 and SkyDrive were affected by a three hour service outage on August 17. Microsoft refuses to detail the reason behind the outage, stating it was network related, but is offering compensation to customers who experienced the outage in accessing their email and calendars. The software giant sent the following message to customers according to ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley:

Dear Customer:

The Office 365 team strives to provide exceptional service to all of our customers. On August 17, customers served from one of our North America data center lost access to email services included in the Office 365 suite. We apologize for the inconvenience this may have caused you and your employees.

We are committed to communicating with our customers in an open and honest manner about service issues and the steps we’re taking to prevent recurrences.

•What happened?

º Preliminary investigation indicates that a networking interruption in one of our North America data centers caused Office 365 Exchange Online to be inaccessible by some customers.
º This incident lasted from approximately 11:30 AM PDT to 2:40 PM PDT, during which time customers were not able to access the Outlook Web App or send and receive email through Exchange Online.
º The Service Health Dashboard was updated regularly during the event to notify customers of the problem, though there was a brief period of intermittent access issues to that dashboard.

• What actions have been taken to prevent a recurrence?

º The data center’s networking facilities have been remediated and we are investigating the root cause.
º We continue to monitor the overall network very closely to maintain high levels of service to customers.

We understand that any disruption in service may result in a disruption to your business. As a gesture of our commitment to ensuring the highest quality service experience Microsoft is proactively providing your organization a credit equal to 25% of your monthly invoice. The credit will appear on a future invoice, and you do not need to contact Microsoft to receive this credit. Please note, processing of the credit may take as long as 90 days.

If you have additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at the Office 365 community site.

Thank you for choosing Office 365 to host your business productivity applications. We appreciate your business.

Sincerely,

The Office 365 Team

Microsoft launched Office 365 worldwide on June 28. Office 365 provides Office 2010, Exchange, SharePoint and Lync all Online in a cloud-based service. The service is a full browser-based solution that incorporates webmail, collaboration and document management. The recent outage was the first of its kind for the new service and may have been related to Cisco networking gear, according to ZDNet. Microsoft’s monthly invoice discount will likely smooth over and negative reactions to the outage.

  • Test1ngi23

    “To the Cloud!” …or maybe not.

    • Anonymous

      hahaha right :)

      … but I wish they would do the same to wp7 developers who lost revenue for similar outages and problems to their marketplace system !

    • Anonymous

      hahaha right :)

      … but I wish they would do the same to wp7 developers who lost revenue for similar outages and problems to their marketplace system !

  • http://twitter.com/jimmyfal Jimmy Fallon

    Yup, I checked my Outbox and there were 3 messages in there. For some reason they did not automatically get sent when the service came back. Not sure what that was all about.

  • J A

    Whether you go to the cloud or remain on premise, outages are a part of any infrastructure as much as humans falling sick is a fact of life. The difference in response is how much detail you get and/or conpensation. MS is delivering on their financially-backed SLA by refunding 25% of your next month’s bill while other companies do not even do such.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000678662470 Vincent Haakmat

    The problem is not the outage. It’s the false promise that cloud service (no matter from which vendor) is a 100% up-time guarantee.

    • guest

      MS never promissed 100% availability. Outages happen everywhere and MS refunds customers when events as such happens. I don’t think this is a promisse any other company can stand by.

    • Matthewmsft

      no, actually MS guaraunteed 99% uptime

    • http://twitter.com/LachlanCMcLeod Lachlan C McLeod

      no they had financial guarantees.. exactly what they are doing.. they guaranteed to give discounts if they had an outage..

    • Dude

      Well, there’s your 1%

  • 5Media FRT

    Microsoft suffered as the access to the Cloud Services was disrupted. The recovery was made after three hours, but I’m sure after this experience, Microsoft will be prepared in case anything similar to this happens again. read in this article that the analysts say that the cloud is being prone to damage and desruptions like anyother computing systemhttp://cloudtechsite.com/blogposts/analysts%E2%80%99-remark-cloud-is-liable-to-disruption-just-as-any-other-computing-system.html

  • 5Media FRT

    Microsoft suffered as the access to the Cloud Services was disrupted. The recovery was made after three hours, but I’m sure after this experience, Microsoft will be prepared in case anything similar to this happens again. read in this article that the analysts say that the cloud is being prone to damage and desruptions like anyother computing systemhttp://cloudtechsite.com/blogposts/analysts%E2%80%99-remark-cloud-is-liable-to-disruption-just-as-any-other-computing-system.html