MSP Today Expert Feature
August 20, 2014

Microsoft's Azure Continues to Experience Technical Difficulties

Multiple products and services were interrupted yesterday when Microsoft (News - Alert)'s Azure cloud computing platform experienced outages and technical difficulties. The problems began close to 2 p.m. ET and affected about 10 services at its peak, including Cloud Services, Virtual Machines and Websites. Described as “intermittent connectivity issues,” the outages affected Azure services deployed in the southern Brazil region, an issue Microsoft described as a “partial service interruption” related to network infrastructure.

By 4:15 p.m. ET, Microsoft started to fix some of the outages and issues, but still had a long way to go  in order to return the platform to its normal function. The problems add to a timeline of outages and service disruptions that affected several Azure products and customers around the world all of last week. The outages impacted Cloud Services, a platform where customers build, deploy and manage apps on the Azure Cloud, in four out of six U.S. Regions. According to InfoWorld, simultaneous issues occurred when Virtual Machines, which lets customers deploy Windows Server, Linux, or a third-party software images to Azure, was only working in two of the Azure global regions.

This is disappointing news for Microsoft and exciting news for its competitors. Azure competes against other powerful platform-as-a-service (PaaS) vendors, including Amazon, Google, and IBM (News - Alert). Azure is an example of Microsoft's dramatic shift from being a software provider that customers install on their premises to a seller of subscription-based cloud services and applications hosted on its data centers, according to InfoWorld. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella (News - Alert) has identified the Azure suite of PaaS products as essential for the current and future financial success of the company.

The bottom line is that Microsoft needs its cloud computing services to be more reliable and functional if it hopes to conquer the competition. Outages and interruptions must be kept at a minimum and cannot be a consistent issue; otherwise CIOs and business managers will lose confidence in the cloud provider and seek another alternative. 

Edited by Maurice Nagle