Last week, Microsoft’s new Outlook.com service suffered its second major outage since its launch earlier this year. The most recent outage, a 16 hour fiasco impacting Outlook.com, Hotmail, and SkyDrive users, was due to an botched firmware update resulting in overheating servers in one of its data centers. As reported in PC World, the switch-over to alternate servers also failed.
This outage follows a 9 1/2 hour Outlook.com outage in February that Microsoft acknowledge on Twitter but neglected to not on its status dashboard. February also saw a major Azure outage, caused when Microsoft failed to renew and install new SSL security certificates (a mistake they also made one year earlier). In November, the Office 365 service was down for most of a day when Microsoft was unable to allocate adequate resources.
These strings of outages, all due to operational errors and architectural limitations, raise serious questions about Microsoft’s ability to manage a multi-tenant data center.
They also raise questions about the Microsoft’s integrity with respect to marketing and customer expectations. While Microsoft promotes Office 365 and it’s other services as redundant, these outages demonstrate that service reliability is facility-dependent.