Microsoft Experienced Brief Cloud Outages
August 15, 2013

Microsoft Cloud Services Hit With Temporary Outage

Michael Harper for - Your Universe Online

Microsoft acknowledged yesterday that their, Messenger and SkyDrive services had once again experienced outages, leaving some users without access to email and cloud services for several hours.

As often happens with cloud service outages, some users — like TechCrunch’s Alex Wilhem — never experienced a disruption in service while others had quite the opposite experience.

At some point midday on Wednesday, Microsoft updated their dashboard to show the outages of Outlook, People and SkyDrive. By 5 PM EST, most services had been restored to normal operations. At the time of this writing, however, the dashboard says Outlook users may have difficulty syncing email on mobile devices.

For their part, Microsoft only blamed the outages on an “incident,” and noted the service disruptions only affected a small number of users, according to the Associated Press (AP).

According to a screenshot captured by Mary Jo Foley with ZDNet, who was also unaffected by the outages, Microsoft first explained Outlook users may not be able to see their messages. Tell-tale, circular red x’s next to Outlook, People and SkyDrive explained there was something wrong. Under SkyDrive, however, Microsoft mentioned this outage might be more widespread than just those looking to access their files in the cloud.

“Services such as Hotmail, Messages, and SkyDrive are experiencing technical difficulties. We appreciate your patience as we work on the problem.”

This is interesting as Messenger and Hotmail have technically been wrapped into Outlook and Skype.

Microsoft later issued a statement to ZDNet, saying: “Microsoft is investigating an issue affecting a small number of customers' access to some and SkyDrive experiences and we are working to restore full access to the services as quickly as possible. For the latest information, we encourage people to visit the status page."

By 2 PM EST, SkyDrive service had been restored and two hours later issues with Contact were reportedly resolved. Less than an hour later the Redmond company updated the dashboard again with this statement: “We identified a solution to the problem and have brought most services back online. The rest of services are being brought up gradually."

Microsoft did not give any other word about why these services had fallen throughout the day.

As the cloud is still a relatively new infrastructure, outages such as this are common and usually affect users for a few hours or an entire afternoon at the worst. For instance, similar outages affected Microsoft services in January and again in March.

Even as services went down yesterday, TechCrunch’s Wilhem called these sort of disruptions “pedestrian and normal, provided that it doesn’t bang on for too long.”