Microsoft Azure Outage Knocks Out Skype, Office 365, Outlook & Xbox Live

Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform suffered an outage on Tuesday that knocked its Outlook.com, Office 365, Skype and Xbox Live services offline.

The company appears to have fixed the cause of the outage, which Microsoft reported affected the US East Coast region of its cloud footprint.

The cause of the problem is still unknown at the time of writing, though Microsoft said its engineers are investigating the issues.

Azure outage

“Between 23:23 on 21 Mar 2017 and 01:35 UTC on 22 Mar 2017, a subset of customers may have experienced increased latency or network timeouts while attempting to access Azure resources with traffic passing through the East Coast,” it said.

Thus far it does not appear that the outage was related to a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack or the workings of the Mirai botnet.  As such it would not be beyond the realms of imagination to attribute the outage to a software update going wrong to Microsoft could infrastructure.

Microsoft took efforts to redirect traffic form the region and to isolate the affected facility in order to minimise the impact of the outage. However, that did not stop a flurry of disgruntlement from uses of Microosft’s cloud hosted services.

“Manchester, UK, I cannot login to Outlook!! I cannot access onedrive and onenote! Very serious issue!! Outlook is down #Outlook #hotmail,” Bobby Ufot-Ekpo posted on Twitter.

“#Outlook not working some people do actually need to read their emails. Sort it out #microsoft,” said Twitter user ‘titch’ complete with an angry face emoticon.

“Xbox live is down? Can’t log into outlook or my Xbox app #xboxlivedown this shouldn’t be happening anymore @Microsoft get it together!” complained Kristy Salvador.

This outage follows one earlier this month which again affected Skype, OneDrive and Office 365 amongst other services.

The outages do highlight the risk of relying 100 percent on cloud-based services, whereby data centre and domain name server problems can result in significant outages of numerous major online services reliant on cloud infrastructure provided by the likes of Microsoft and Amazon Web Services.

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Roland Moore-Colyer

As News Editor of Silicon UK, Roland keeps a keen eye on the daily tech news coverage for the site, while also focusing on stories around cyber security, public sector IT, innovation, AI, and gadgets.

View Comments

  • I disagree with the opening statement that it demonstrates the shortcomings of moving to the cloud. What this does in my view, is demonstrates that even highly technically skilled people in companies of the magnitude of Microsoft can still make mistakes. And if this mistake took numerous engineers, who are equally highly skilled, a significant amount of time to resolve it, then imagine the length of time it would have taken an organisation with less resource available to them. Notwithstanding the high degree of combined intelligence used. In short, I see an argument more in favour of moving things to the cloud rather than against it in this instance.

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