For the second time in less than a month, Microsoft cloud-based services suffered a major technical glitch and crashed worldwide. The outage left millions of Microsoft users around the globe without access to Office365, email, or the Skydrive. After Office 365 was unavailable for a period of approximately four hours, services were restored.
Microsoft Office 365 is a paid email, web apps, collaboration, and file sharing program that publicly launched earlier this year. It was designed to compete with Google Docs, but has had several reliability issues and faces an uphill battle competing with Google Docs’ free price tag. When Office 365 experienced a 3-hour long system-wide failure less than a month ago, the company offered its users a 25% discount to compensate for the trouble.
Although Microsoft originally blogged that the downtime was due to the southern California power outages, this post was quickly removed from the site. Later, Microsoft tweeted to an Office 365 customer that the preliminary root cause was a DNS issue and that they were working diligently to restore service.
Since Office 365 is specifically targeting business customers, a market sector that requires close to 100% up-time, these two occurrences of system-wide downtime may drive customers to the competition. However, even the ultra-reliable Google Docs, which claims to have 99.99% uptime, just experienced a system-wide failure two days ago.
At around 5:00 AM (ET), Microsoft announced the restoration of Office 365 and informed customers that the other Microsoft products would be back online soon.
The recent Google Docs and Microsoft cloud-based failures should remind users that downtime is a real risk regardless of where a server is based. In order to minimize the impact of downtime, businesses should also store data locally and have contingency plans in place.