Cloud productivity is a major part of how we think of business in the 21st century. The idea of storing all your information in external servers that 1) allow you to access your data from anywhere, 2) give advanced administrative controls, 3) allow for highly scalable services, and 4) take care of all your IT needs for you is just stunning. But the cloud also comes with a drawback known as downtime. Until recently, Microsoft’s online productivity services (in the form of BPOS) had evaded any major crashes, but thanks to the May 10th through 12th issues, they are ready to join the club.
BPOS, or “Business Productivity Online Suite,” is Microsoft’s response to Google Apps (as well as the less business-oriented Google Docs and accompanying productivity services). Microsoft had long touted their reliability as being far better than Google’s, even mentioning in official channels when Google went down. However, Microsoft now has the opportunity to eat those words thanks to their recent outages.
The issues began on May 10th, when malformed emails created a “backlog.” Users weren’t receiving messages until hours after they should have been couriered to the inbox. This “up to nine hour” delay was one thing, but over the course of the next two days DNS issues and other problems made it impossible for users to even log in, not to mention disrupting synchronization with any devices using Exchange ActiveSync.
Google has been courteous enough not to comment on the topic, perhaps not wanting to get into an ego battle that would inevitably bring up similar outages in Google Apps. Individual Googlers in the Apps department have made it known, however, that there’s “a sense of satisfaction that others are now appreciating how difficult it can be.”