Microsoft in damage-control mode over webmail outage
The very long service failure occurred at a very inopportune time as Microsoft is making a strong marketing push for its new Outlook.com
IDG News Service - Microsoft has issued a detailed mea culpa about the lengthy and ill-timed outage that affected its webmail services on Tuesday and Wednesday, an incident that undermines the company's push for its new Outlook.com as a better alternative to Gmail and Yahoo Mail.
"We do want to sincerely apologize to anyone that was unable to access their email during the interruption. Outages are something we take very seriously and invest a significant amount of our time and energy in doing our best to prevent," wrote Arthur de Haan, a Microsoft vice president, in a blog post.
While outages affect all providers of consumer online services at one point or another, this one in particular lasted very long -- from Tuesday afternoon until Wednesday morning -- and happened while Microsoft is fanning the marketing flames for Outlook.com, the Hotmail replacement that the company is touting as a reinvention of webmail services in general.
Microsoft announced Outlook.com with much fanfare in July 2012, when it launched it in preview mode, saying it represented a re-imagining of webmail from the data center to the user experience.
Last month, Microsoft removed the "preview" tag from Outlook.com, opening it up to all comers and setting in motion the upgrade process for Hotmail users, which should be completed by the summer.
At the same time, Microsoft has been waging an in-your-face, months-long public perception war on Gmail via its Scroogled campaign, in which Microsoft argues that Gmail disrespects its users' privacy by matching ads to the text of their messages.
It positions Outlook.com as an alternative that is more privacy-friendly than Gmail, while touting Outlook.com's improvements over Hotmail, including a redesigned user interface, broad syncing capabilities, improved message sorting and native integration with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google and other sites.
De Haan explained in his blog post that the Hotmail and Outlook.com outage began shortly after 4:30 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time on Tuesday, and that problems were fully solved at around 8:45 a.m. on Wednesday. The SkyDrive cloud storage and file sharing service was also down for several hours.
The problem arose after Microsoft updated the firmware on equipment in one of its data centers, a routine process that somehow went very wrong, causing "a rapid and substantial temperature spike" in the facility.
"This spike was significant enough before it was mitigated that it caused our safeguards to come in to place for a large number of servers in this part of the datacenter," he wrote.
As a result, access to mailboxes on these servers was shut down, and the failover process was blocked.
"Based on the failure scenario, there was a mix of infrastructure software and human intervention that was needed to bring the core infrastructure back online. Requiring this kind of human intervention is not the norm for our services and added significant time to the restoration," he wrote.
- Best iPhone, iPad Business Apps for 2014
- 14 Tech Conventions You Should Attend in 2014
- 10 Desktop Apps to Power Your Windows PC
- How to Add New Job Skills Without Going Back to School
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- Gartner 2013 Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Backup/Recovery Software See why CommVault was positioned as the #1 leader in Gartner's 2013 Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Backup/Recovery software for the 3rd year in...
- Forrester Report: CommVault is a Leader in Enterprise Backup and Recovery In this report, Forrester takes a deep dive into the evaluation criteria, how CommVault is positioned and the features and functionality that make...
- Forrester Wave for Enterprise Backup and Recovery Read this report to see how CommVault continues to outpace its competitors and why Forrester positioned CommVault Simpana as the top backup and...
- Architecting the Network of the Future Networks need to change, as does the way IT thinks about and manages them. In addition to reliability, IT must now add higher...
- Four Myths of High-Productivity App Dev Debunked Debunk the main myths surrounding high-productivity application development and how both platforms have overcome them.
On-Demand Webcast: 7 Reasons to Choose VoIP
Thinking about a new phone system for your business?
Be sure to watch this informative webcast. Steve Strauss, small business columnist for USA...
All Desktop Apps White Papers |