Microsoft Says 11-Hour Azure Outage Was Caused by System Update

People visiting pc technologies stands at SMAU, international fair of business intelligence and information technology October 20, 2010 in Milan, Italy.

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Microsoft’s cloud-based platform, Azure, experienced an outage beginning yesterday at approximately 5 p.m. PT that lasted 11 hours. The problem affected customers worldwide and impacted both third-party programs hosted on the platform such as Azure Storage, Virtual Machines, and Visual Studio as well as some of Microsoft’s own products, including the Windows Store and Xbox Live.

In a statement on the Azure blog, corporate vice president Jason Zander apologized for the outage, saying it was due to a performance update to Azure. “The net result was an inability for the front ends to take on further traffic, which in turn caused other services built on top to experience issues,” he wrote.  A root cause analysis (RCA) was also posted on the blog, so customers could see exactly what the issues were and what caused them.

Related: Microsoft Releases Patch to Fix 19-Year-Old Windows Bug

As Slashdot points out, the incident comes at a bad time for Microsoft, which has been recently focusing its attention on Azure in an effort to compete with the cloud platforms offered by Amazon, IBM, and Google.

While Microsoft’s apology post outlines what went wrong and why it won’t happen again, commenters were outraged. Some criticized the company’s inaccurate status dashboard, which allegedly said the platform was working when it wasn’t. Others said the outage resulted in lost business and damaged reputation.

The incident underscores concerns about cloud services as a whole, as competing products such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) have also suffered outages. Last year, AWS suffered outages that took down Vine, Instagram and Amazon.com.

Related: Here’s How Drastically Microsoft Windows Has Changed Over the Years

 
 
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