Microsoft BPOS down for 90 minutes; second outage in a month

Microsoft BPOS down for 90 minutes; second outage in a month

Summary: Microsoft's hosted suite of enterprise applications -- the Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) went down for 90 minutes on September 3 for a number of customers in North America.

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Microsoft's hosted suite of enterprise applications -- the Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) went down for 90 minutes on September 3 for a number of customers in North America.

This is the second BPOS outage reported in the past month. The previous one hit on August 23, and like today's, was attributed to an unspecified networking issue.

Microsoft Most Valuable Professional and co-founder of InterKnowlogy Tim Huckaby alerted me to today's outage via a Facebook status update.

"I made it to 40!...and i cannot tell you how frustrating this is...My InterKnowlogy Exchange Account on Microsoft BPOS has been down 40+ hours. This calamity combined with the last one in July brings my "Uptime" ptcg in the 5 months my Email has been hosted in Microsoft Hosted Services down to 98.0747%."

BPOS is a Microsoft-hosted bundle of Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Communications Online and Live Meeting. There are dedicated, shared (multi-tenant) and government versions of the suite. Microsoft is working to update the BPOS bundle with the latest versions of these various point products, something that will happen over the next few months.

Microsoft touts service level agreement (SLA) guarantees of 99.9 percent for its Online services (of which BPOS is a key component). If Microsoft falls short of that mark, a spokesperson recently told me, the company "give(s) customers money back." The spokesperson also told me that Microsoft considers "any service issue as downtime," but said (as of June 2010) that "Microsoft Online Services have averaged 99.9% or better uptime since the start of this year."

Microsoft confirmed today's outage when I asked.

“This morning, beginning at roughly 10 AM eastern, some customers in North America began experiencing intermittent access to our data center.  We identified a network issue as the source, and the issue was resolved roughly 90 minutes later.  During the duration of the issue, customers may have experienced intermittent access to services," a different spokesperson told me. "Customers received regular updates on the issue via our normal communication channels.  We apologize for any inconvenience the issue may have caused our customers," he added.

The spokesperson also said that Huckaby's 40-hour-plus reported downtime was specific to his account and escalated prior to my inquiry.

Update: Huckaby confirmed his account was fixed as of September 3. "To Microsoft’s defense, it’s not like mine or anyone else’s email bounced. That will never happen," said Huckaby, who also is a member of the Microsoft Regional Director program. "They are completely fault tolerant there…which you would expect / demand. When I did finally get connectivity to my mailbox again, I got a deluge of 500+ emails. "

Yes, all online services experience periodic outages. But Microsoft and its competitors are pitching services like BPOS as ready for prime-time in the enterprise.

Any other BPOS users out there hit by today's glitch?

Topics: Microsoft, CXO, Collaboration, Outage

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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60 comments
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  • RE: Microsoft BPOS down for 90 minutes; second outage in a month

    Oh no! Not 99% down to 98%!! The humanity. I'm sure that 1% isn't going to make a difference. Outtages happen, its a fact of life. At big companies and small, sometimes that one app just doesn't work. Usually the employees are happy because then they don't have to do any work.
    Loverock Davidson
    • So...

      It's ok for Microsoft to screw up (in your opinion) but Google isn't (in your opinion) ready for prime time etc.

      Oh wait, you're just excusing the inexcusable. Nothing new.
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      • RE: Microsoft BPOS down for 90 minutes; second outage in a month

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      @Loverock Davidson Is so dumb he can't understand that 90 mins of down time can potentially cost MILLIONS in losses.

      Not only is a hit to the cost of productivity, it can also mean that many potential clients will not be getting the information in time.
      wackoae
      • RE: Microsoft BPOS down for 90 minutes; second outage in a month

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    • Good thing you are not an IT Professional

      @Loverock Davidson doesn't know what an SLA is....

      99% downtime is equivalent to 3.65 days, 98% is 7.30 days (in a year). They have a SLA agreement to provide 99.9%, equivalent to 8.76 hours (in a year), they have lost/missed 3.75 hours so far (in just 2 months).
      B.O.F.H.
      • RE: Microsoft BPOS down for 90 minutes; second outage in a month

        @B.O.F.H.

        I think you mean 99 % uptime, don't think customers would be happy at 99% downtime - you need to read the SLA smallprint ;)
        Alan Smithie
      • I stand corrected (typos suck)

        @Alan Smithie<br><br>Thanks for catching the error... my bad! Corrected text should be...

        99% uptime is equivalent to 3.65 days, 98% is 7.30 days (in a year). They have a SLA agreement to provide 99.9%, equivalent to 8.76 hours (in a year), they have lost/missed 3.75 hours so far (in just 2 months).
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    • RE: Microsoft BPOS down for 90 minutes; second outage in a month

      @Loverock Davidson

      Welcome to the cloud. With so many possible points of failure, it's amazing we get so little downtime.

      A case in point is Blizzard who run 24/7 multiple servers for up to 11 million people worldwide in World of Warcraft. Even with all that revenue from subscriptions, state of the art servers and software, things still happen and this is an entertainment option, not a business system - although QQ from this audience is probably much higher than businesses.

      So if you're looking for 100% uptime, forget it. The cloud may be useful, but it's also slow and clunky and even with its multiple redundancies and paths, it's still fragile ;-)
      tonymcs1
    • RE: Microsoft BPOS down for 90 minutes; second outage in a month

      @Loverock Davidson

      Add 150 minutes of more outages (on September 7th) to the list of outages. We had 60 minutes this morning and 90 minutes this afternoon, Pacific Time. First outage had two RSS messages, second outage only had a Services Available message.
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