Microsoft Apologizes for Email Outages

Pulkit Chandna

The cloud outage season that began with the PlayStation Network outage seems to be having an extended run as web services just can’t stop tumbling. Microsoft was one of the companies that encountered problems with their web services last week. Redmond’s trouble revolved around its Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) . While all issues were resolved quickly, the BPOS team did not forget to apologize for BPOS’s relative lack of productivity during the week.

BPOS is a package of message and collaboration tools that include Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Office Communications Online and Office Live Meeting. BPOS’s Exchange service first encountered a problem on Tuesday at 9:30am PDT when malformed email traffic on the service led to a huge backlog of email. The issue was resolved 9 hours later when “the malformed traffic was isolated and the mail queues cleared.”

But the problem reared its ugly head on Thursday, this time joining hands with a related problem to cause a delay in the delivery of around 1.5 million messages. In fact, BPOS wasn’t the only Microsoft service that encountered problems that day. A DNS failure led to Outlook Web Access hosted in the Americas becoming inaccessible for a brief while, “and partially impacted some functionality of Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync devices.”

“I’d like to apologize to you, our customers and partners, for the obvious inconveniences these issues caused.  We know that email is a critical part of your business communication, and my team and I fully recognize our responsibility as your partner and service provider,” wrote Dave Thompson, corporate vice president for Microsoft Online Services, in a blog post.

“We will provide a full post mortem, and will also provide additional updates on how our service level agreement (SLA) was impacted.   We will be proactively issuing a service credit to our impacted customers.”

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