Follow us:

Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

November 20, 2014 at 2:45 PM

Microsoft’s Azure stumble a worrying one

It’s risky to play armchair psychologist. But it’s probably safe to say that one of the things that keeps Microsoft executives awake at night happened earlier this week: the company’s cloud stopped working.

A good chunk of Microsoft’s Azure cloud-computing services went offline for about 11 hours on Monday, disrupting service for Microsoft customers in the U.S., Europe and Asia. The BBC has a good rundown of how this hit some clients — from preventing health care workers from accessing their email and documents to a social media startup’s site going dark.

It’s hard to overstate the importance of the cloud for Microsoft. It’s the second part of Chief Executive Satya Nadella’s “mobile first, cloud first” mantra, and a big reason Microsoft’s done pretty well financially recently even as some other tech giants that cater to business customers faltered.

More of the world’s computer processing power and data storage is expected to migrate in the coming years from servers or PCs run by individual businesses to data centers operated by technology firms and accessed via the web. Companies from Amazon to Google are competing to entice customers to store data on their cloud. Azure is a centerpiece of Microsoft’s effort to make sure big business and individuals chose them.

Reliability is paramount. Potential clients like McDonald’s or the Department of Defense aren’t about to unplug their own servers and throw their data into remote storage unless they’re certain it will be available whenever they want it.

“When we have an incident like this, our main focus is rapid time to recovery for our customers, but we also work to closely examine what went wrong and ensure it never happens again,” Jason Zander, a corporate vice president with Microsoft Azure, said in a blog post explaining the failure.

Zander said the outage was the result of an update gone wrong. Over the course of applying a performance-boosting tweak to Azure’s servers, some became unable to take on new traffic from customers, reducing capacity across three continents. Rolling back the update required the restart of the effected units.

Comments | More in Cloud computing | Topics: azure, cloud, microsoft

COMMENTS

No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.



The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.


The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►