back to article Well this is awkward. As Microsoft was bragging about Office at Build, Office 365 went down

Microsoft scrambled to get its Office 365 service back online after the cloud productivity suite was hit with a mid-day outage. Loads of people reported that, at around 1245 PT, access to the service went out. Microsoft confirmed shortly after it was having problems, and said it was looking into the matter. Subscribers in New …

Anonymous Coward

Universities switched to Office365 because its basically free. Of course it doesn't offer the same kind of performance the old on-prem exchange, but running a resilient mail system for 30,000 students isn't cheap, backing it all up is also very expensive. You can probably save £1m over 5 years by making the move.

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Anonymous Coward

But like "NHSmail"

it won't be "free" in 5 years. Why TF do you think a mega corp would give you free stuff indefinitely?

They're all racing to the bottom until they reach critical mass, then watch the prices rocket. And there will be few indy hosting companies left, so what ya gonna do then? 'Cos Ghostbusters are no use.

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Re: But like "NHSmail"

5 years is a long time in tech. That's between 1.5 and 1 server replacement cycles for most businesses I've seen.

So, 5 years of free stuff is still pretty darn good! Education is particularly well served by it!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: But like "NHSmail"

Because the idea is that they hook the students on office 365 so that when they leave school or uni they'll push office 365 at the business they start or go to work for.

It's the same reason we get super cheap volume licences from Microsoft.

The alternative is our network goes Apple or Linux and we have thousands of converts leave the institution each year who won't want to use a Microsoft product.

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Pint

"... but that would mean management admitting they made a mistake."

Bingo. Some of ours will swallow all of the marketing bilge they're given, and a lot of that is second-hand evangelising by our own managers who have already swallowed it themselves.

When things go wrong or performance suffers and staff start to complain, management explain the service is cheaper... constantly updated... new features all the time... etc, whereas had the same issues occurred when on-prem, those same managers would have been pointing the fingers and demanding action as IT were not providing the service the should.

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Bronze badge

It is all smoke cloud and mirrors.

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its all smoke clouds

and they can't even bother to smoke the good stuff.

no reason for Mexican ditch-weed when you can legally grow much better stuff

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Silver badge

I'm in Texas

No outage today.

But then again, El Reg refuses to recognize that Texas is a wee bit larger than England.

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Gold badge

Re: I'm in Texas

Perhaps they felt that providing a map, with state boundaries and fuzziness in affected areas, made it unnecessary to expend the proverbial thousand words on a more detailed list. (Just as you didn't explicitly say that you were an O365 user.)

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Re: I'm in Texas

nobody disputes that the area covered by Texas is larger (nearly 3 times larger) than the area covered by the UK. But it kind of overlooks the fact that has less than half the population of the UK.

Microsoft use distributed locations to host their authentication servers - so different people in different places will authenticate to different servers - is that too much to grasp?

Obviously this was not a global outage - it was an issue with some of the authentication servers in some locations - thereby affecting some users.

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Re: I'm in Texas

... and Mexico is even larger.

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Silver badge

Re: I'm in Texas

But then again, El Reg refuses to recognize that Texas is a wee bit larger than England.

Except in any ways that matter..

(Trivia like population, diversity, GDP etc etc..)

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Re: I'm in Texas

@Crazy - "Except in any ways that matter.. (Trivia like population, diversity, GDP etc etc..)"

Good to see that the British inferiority complex is alive and well.

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Re: I'm in Texas

@Ken - "Perhaps they felt that providing a map, with state boundaries and fuzziness in affected areas..."

I'm in one of the two fuzziness areas, as are the vast majority of Texans. The scare headline "Office 365 went down - TITSUP: Total Inability To Stand Up Products" is a bit overdone if you ask me. I'm sure it was good for the clicks though.

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Re: I'm in Texas

"British inferiority complex"? That's rich, coming from a Texan.

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Re: I'm in Texas

"I'm in one of the two fuzziness areas, as are the vast majority of Texans. "

Must ... not ... comment ...

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Devil

*PRICELESS*

This deserves its own 'Priceless' parody ad.

"Office 365 subscription - $xxx"

"Trip to Build conference - $xxxx"

"Listening to Microsoft brag about Office 365 and cloud services while it suffers a critical outage? PRICELESS!"

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Anonymous Coward

not just US issue

Im in the UK and had an inability to log in at about that time (PST) yesterday. gave up and went and made a cup of tea.

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Silver badge
Windows

Triumph of the mediocre?

A vanilla generic cloud offering based out there somewhere is unlikely to match a well run local service.

On the other hand it is unlikely to go as spectacularly bad as a dreadfully run local service (looking at you UCL).

In time the level of service will be accepted and IT skills will wither on the vine.

Then prices will start to rise.

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Silver badge

Re: Triumph of the mediocre?

In time the level of service will be accepted and IT skills will wither on the vine.

Then prices will start to rise.

AKA "The Walmart Strategy[1]"

[1] - Yes - the one they used extensively in the US - move into an area where they were not really needed, use their financial muscle to drive local shops into bankruptcy and then close that loss-making store so that locals now have drive to the nearest supermarket. Which will be, surprise, surprise, a Walmart..

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Triumph of the mediocre?

" move into an area where they were not really needed, use their financial muscle to drive local suppliers into bankruptcy "

Also known as the Amazon strategy, and the "move all manufacturing to China" strategy, and...

Aren't markets great.

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"User Impact: Users may have been unable to log in to Office 365 services.

Final status: We monitored the service and worked with some affected customers to confirm restoration. In some cases, affected users may need to restart their browser or application in order for sign-in to begin functioning properly.

Scope of impact: Customer reports indicated that many users likely experienced impact related to this event. Our analysis indicated that this issue could have potentially affected any of your users intermittently if they were routed through the affected infrastructure.

Start time: Wednesday, May 10, 2017, at 7:32 PM UTC

End time: Wednesday, May 10, 2017, at 8:12 PM UTC

Preliminary root cause: A recent change introduced a configuration issue that caused authentication for Office 365 services to become degraded.

Next steps:

- We're reviewing our monitoring services to find ways to reduce detection time and to improve our automated recovery processes.

- We're reviewing our update procedures to help catch this kind of problem during our testing cycle.

We'll publish a post-incident report within five business days."

So someone made a change and it went wrong. It happens.

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Anonymous Coward

Sysadmins who manage on-prem, private clouds are an aging population. they are fed up with the constant refresh cycle, fw updates, failures, backups, testing, security exploits, change control and the countless other waist of time activities that are invisible to the business and add no real value. Bunging all that backend work into the cloud for some other spod to manage isn't such a bad idea. They can then get on with developing better services that actually add value (and not have to respond to that dreaded alert saying the SAN is down). But don't get me wrong, all eggs is a valid argument, your critical business systems should be hybrid or hosted on 2 different public clouds, just like you'd design fault domains into your on-prem infrastructure.

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Critical system?

If email is critical to your organisation, then don't outsource it to a public cloud provider. I don't really see why everyone is laughing/attacking the service. Its email, not life support.

If your business relies so heavily on email that potential uncontrollable downtime from a public cloud provider, don't migrate. Invest in your own system and sysadmins.

To the rest of us, where email being down doesn't mean the end of the world, we're quite happy with a public cloud provider.

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Re: Critical system?

so here's my primary "beef":

we are a public service Agency that has been in operation for nearly a century.

None of the companies offering "cloud based services" have even been in existence for half that, and none have offered or maintained any of these services for a tenth of that.

Very few companies, if any, have survived that long and maintained the same business services. the IBM of today is not the IBM of its inception, nor the IBM of even a decade ago.

So sure we need to adapt to new technologies for efficiency reasons, but making fundamental core business processes 100% dependent on exterior private corporations with less than 5 years actual deployment of those services? Or in some cases companies that are straight out of the Startup Incubator? Where if those services become unavailable the time and resources needed to restore or transfer functionality to some other provider are WEEKS and $million$ in which vulnerable populations are completely screwed?

At least with internal email, when things stopped, we could find admins to blame. When the "cloud service" company goes out of business, disappears and its offices are empty, we can lay blame but we can't restart their servers and provide services to clients.

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Bronze badge
Coat

[terminally insufficient throughput segregates usable product]

It's sad how people are flocking backwards to before the earliest PC days. Seems like you never know when a golden age *is*, only when it *was*. Devo must be having a good laugh, though.

(it's that one with a Zaurus in the pocket)

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if only

if only they had tweeted at 13:37.....all could have been forgiven

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But who uses Office365, or any product with the word Office in it anyway

For sure not anybody younger than Generation Z,

Most webmail clients do a decent job for formatting nice letters. When it has to be fancy, wiki text editing and pasted into an email does the job.

For the rest, all this MS stuff is as modern and relevant as a Remington typewriter from the 1930's, even when it has 500 buttons more.

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Silver badge

Bah!

Bandwidth challenges in my workplace mean four seconds from selecting a mailing to it actually loading into the preview pane when everything is working properly. Periodically, typically as I'm trying to type a reply or building a filter to move something important out of the storm of reply-to-all "Me too"s which liven up my day, the spinning wheel of annoyance pops up and the entire shambles goes Nonresponding Grey for anything up to 15 seconds.

This outage just meant I was less aggravated by the bloody thing yesterday.

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Bronze badge
Happy

Things Haven't Changed Much at MS

....I remember a major dog and pony show at a prestigious NYC hotel for the rollout of Windows 98 many years ago with Bill Gates looking into a massive projection of one of his BSODs.

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Coat

Lets go back to telegraph, water wells and windmills all over again...

...because we all can do better than those multi-billion companies and their fancy water pumps, nuclear reactors and datacenters.

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Office 365ish

or Office 360 if you are lucky

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Silver badge

Toooooooold you so. Signs and portents, I said. Someone else's computer, I said. Outage? Didn't notice.

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