Outage hits Microsoft CRM Online, Office 365 customers

Outage hits Microsoft CRM Online, Office 365 customers

Summary: Microsoft CRM Online and Office 365 users were hit with outages to their cloud services on August 17. Microsoft has yet to respond as to what's going on.

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A number of customers using the Microsoft-hosted Dynamics CRM Online and its Office 365 cloud service were reporting performance problems aon August 17.

One CRM Online customer said problems began in the morning (EST). The @MSCloudUS twitter account acknowledged the Office 365 problems, starting in the afternoon (EST). (Thanks to Neowin for the heads up on the Office 365 outage tweets.)

On the CRM Online front, "performance is slow for most users, to the point that some can't use CRM at all," one Microsoft CRM user said. His company is based in the U.S., he said, but international users of the system were affected, as well.

Tim Beljavskis (@pyrofenix) said that his company was experiencing CRM Online connectivity issues, even though Microsoft support said their servers were up and running. Around 1 PM EST, Beljavskis posted on Twitter that CRM 2011 was down.

Microsoft's CRM Online system is currently separate from its Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) and Office 365 successor. All of those Microsoft systems run in Microsoft datacenters. None of them currently is hosted on Windows Azure.

Microsoft officials have said that Microsoft is planning to add CRM Online to the company's hosted Office 365 suite -- which currently includes Microsoft-hosted Exchange, SharePoint and Lync -- before year-end. Microsoft has not transitioned many of its existing BPOS customers to Office 365, advising them that they were going to begin that process in earnest in September. But the company has been selling new customers subscriptions to Office 365 since it launched in late June.

I've asked Microsoft's CRM team for comment on what's going on with CRM Online and Office 365. No word back so far.

Update No. 1: Whatever is going on with Office 365, it's not good. ZDNet's Ed Bott says that the status dashboard on his Office 365 account reads: ""All users are unable to access their email, and administrators are unable to manage existing accounts or provision new accounts." For Bott, it's Exchange Online and calendar that are down; SharePoint Online and Lync Online are not affected.  Here's a shot from Bott's dashboard:

Update No. 2: It seems this Office 365 outage is a North American issue, not a worldwide one. At 5:40 PM EST, a Microsoft spokesperson sent me the following statement:

“At approximately 11:30am PDT, Microsoft became aware of a networking issue affecting customers of some Microsoft services hosted out of one of our North American data centers. We worked to isolate the issue and we are beginning to see service restoration. We continue to investigate the root cause of this issue," according to Steven Gerri, General Manager, Global Foundation Services.

A Microsoft spokesperson said that SkyDrive outages being reported by some users are connected to the issues this particular data center is having, as well.

Update No. 3: The CRM Online issue was not directly tied to the Office 365 one (which makes sense, given those two are still separate service offerings.)  I've asked if the CRM outage occurred as a result of the same datacenter connectivity issue that took down Office 365 and SkyDrive and have yet to hear back.

Here's the latest from a Microsoft spokesperson on this one (as of 6:15 PM EST):

“We were made aware of a few customers experiencing difficulty using their Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online service this morning.  The customer impact was limited to some organizations in North America and has been resolved.  Microsoft takes any downtime seriously, and customers will be reimbursed service charges per the terms of our SLA which guarantees  99.9% uptime.”

Who else is having problems out there? What do you know?

Topics: Enterprise Software, Microsoft, Outage, Software

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: Outage hits Microsoft CRM Online, Office 365 customers

    Our company have the same issues. We can't even place a service request. It starter at 13:03 MST, 15:03 EST. We are using Office 365 and Lync. Lync is still up. We see the same notice as described above. Now time is 14:46 MST.
    MS tech support doesn't have any definite info about the problem. I would like to ask MS about their business continuity plan. There is no ETA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    mjohnson6
    • RE: Outage hits Microsoft CRM Online, Office 365 customers

      @mjohnson@...
      rghss01
    • RE: Outage hits Microsoft CRM Online, Office 365 customers

      @mjohnson@... more proof that relying on the cloud is a fools errand ;-) Sorry to hear about your troubles though.
      ColdFusion_z
      • RE: Outage hits Microsoft CRM Online, Office 365 customers

        @ColdFusion_z

        I keep telling people the cloud is a great addition but not solution and never will be. Furthermore the cloud is just a glorified term for INTERNET. Look at any network map and tell me what does the internet look like? LIKE A CLOUD. BS marketing tactics to prey on stupid users.

        And they say the PC is dead... ROFL really? Only for simpletons. :)
        audidiablo
    • RE: Outage hits Microsoft CRM Online, Office 365 customers

      @mjohnson@...

      If I may be so <b>smug</b> to ask:

      <i>"How many people in your company are unable to do their daily work because of this?"</i>

      also:

      <i>"Was the rationale for making the move to these services <u>saving money</u>?"</i> If so, was the savings worth it?

      At least here, if we lose something, the CIO knows <b>exactly whose a--</b> should be "lit on fire" if it becomes necessary. Can you say that?
      fatman65535
    • RE: Outage hits Microsoft CRM Online, Office 365 customers

      @mjohnson@... Yes, this is bad. My advice is NEVER DEPEND ON A CLOUD FOR MISSION CRITICAL APP. I'd stick to old-fashioned (if that's what people would like to call it) apps on my own PC and only move documents to a remote server/cloud for collaborative work.

      This time it was a cloud server. But image if your ISP went down; you'd have the same issue.

      And speaking of 'definite info', doesn't anyone have any numbers? @Mary, if you're reporting the problem, it would be best to give us some substantial figures.
      itsols
      • RE: Outage hits Microsoft CRM Online, Office 365 customers

        @itsols - your "guidance" is way too insular and not relevant to most companies.

        Take one of my clients, for example. Up until 1 month ago, they were running on an 8 year old Exchange 2003 (std. edition) server housed in Florida, serving users in offices in Florida, Indiana, Washington and Canada. Their email server would crash at least once a week. They've experienced 4 HDD failures in the last 8 years and have had to swap-out their server's HDD's with bigger drives three times. Their average availability during the last 12 months was 68.8% per month.

        Their options? Buy a brand new email server with RAID-5 redundant storage, better UPS protection, backup facilities and Exchange 2010. Since email is now critical, they'll want a clsutered fail-over solution in case the main server dies. This would require an up-front investment of around $15-20K PLUS the time and effort to install, migrate, train and support their in-house support staff, etc.

        Alternatively, for $5 per user per month, they could push all their email into Exchange online and can take advantage of Microsoft's pretty impressive email services which provides them with a FAR greater level of reliability and availability than they'd every have been able to expect before and their IT guys can get back to supporting their business rather than spending 80% of the time trying to keep their email service running.

        Since moving to BPOS, they've experienced one three hour outage during which only 2 users called the helpdesk to complain.
        bitcrazed
    • One small example why...

      @mjohnson@...
      Its madness, pure madness in the business world to rely strictly on cloud services if there are competent conventional software options available.

      Now for example, email is a different story due to the fact that for email to be functional at all you have to have operational internet to begin with so its not like you can avoid the cloud somehow for email. So any similar service in the end, your going to have to relying the internet anyway, so to some degree your productivity in those areas will never be as largely in your hands. But for other services that can be done entirely at a workstation, well, the cloud is still madness and quite frankly, does anyone really crave that extra level of risk to productivity?
      Cayble
    • RE: Outage hits Microsoft CRM Online, Office 365 customers

      @mjohnson@... Microsoft's continuity plan for YOUR business?? Uhhh....I think you better have someone in your own Company take on that responsibility. I can't imagine a reason for not running Microsoft Office in-house. Seriously... the cloud will ALWAYS fail...as it has so many times before...and spectacularly, too.
      malcolm10
  • Finally been hit with one

    I've been lucky in the past, but this outage finally got me. But still for my experience. MS is well within their 99.9 guarantee for me. So Is it a bother? yes. Can I live with it? yes.

    It is back up for me as of 2:29PST
    falconae
  • RE: Outage hits Microsoft CRM Online, Office 365 customers

    We've also been down for going on 3 hours. Perhaps Microsoft should rename their product Office 364.5
    bradhedrick
  • They really need to get this stuff over to Azure

    First migrate, then rewrite/leverage.
    Johnny Vegas
  • RE: Outage hits Microsoft CRM Online, Office 365 customers

    everyone is so mad - oh man the phone has not stopped. Oh so lovely to be an office365 admin today. Microsoft if this turns into BPOS fail, people gone so f'in quick, aint putting up with your shit.
    koolin_
    • RE: Outage hits Microsoft CRM Online, Office 365 customers

      @koolin_

      And move to what? Google? ROFL no way my friend... Google's products suck and the idea of this cloud jargon is so stupid... This is why it is beneficial to have a PC and not some crappy cloud connect like Citrix or a web browser for everything. It is a lot easier when you have a server go down and effect say 200 people in a 85k company opposed to the cloud taking a dump and all 85K eat it.

      Cloud = Fail

      Don't put all your eggs in one basket, EVER.
      audidiablo
      • Not really.

        @audidiablo Google provides email service to Temple University with over 10,000 users. It's been a remarkable transformation from Outlook. I have had Gmail since 2005 and have 61,452 archived emails that are instantly available, many with +8MB attachments. I haven't lost anything and can only recall one service disruption in that entire time for about 1:30. That is flawless performance.<br><br>Using that clown program Outlook will bring a company to it's knees in service costs. I've worked for companies using Outlook and every week you get a message that your inbox is full and your capacity has been exceeded. Outlook requires so much hardware and service that it actually impedes business even in it's normal operation. i.e. without any problems.<br><br>If you do some calculations with Pay Google Email vs. Outlook, your staff can find much better things to do than service Outlook. It's a maintenance and support nightmare. Gmail has always been there when I needed it and never a mailbox full message turning away someones message. Really, I can't imagine how someone could still be using Outlook.<br><br>Also, if you use Windows, (I use Linux), The automatic virus scanning in Google is second to none and will identify malware with a big red banner across the top of the page.<br><br>Google is 100% Linux and the security and efficiency cannot be equaled.
        Joe.Smetona
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  • Nothing new under the sun.

    This was the reason the remote timeshare systems died.

    Using remote resources will always fail since you don't have any control at all over the service, and hence, no control over access to your data.

    This is why corporate data systems existed in the first place.
    jessepollard
    • RE: Outage hits Microsoft CRM Online, Office 365 customers

      @jessepollard

      I bet that you, like me, have "been around for a while"; and have seen this kind of s--- before.
      fatman65535
    • RE: Outage hits Microsoft CRM Online, Office 365 customers

      @jessepollard
      +1
      audidiablo
    • RE: Outage hits Microsoft CRM Online, Office 365 customers

      @jessepollard
      +2

      Anyone who has the faintest expectation either Microsoft or Google can reliably run a 'cloud' needs to stop drinking the Kool-aid. I leverage Google's online offerings, and for an access-anywhere solution for low-priority things, it serves me well.

      The only way I'd leverage their offerings in a business sense is as an additional service, certainly not as a core one.

      Plus, neither Google or Microsoft offer 'accountable' customer service. Things go wrong (eg, accounts get suspended en-mass, etc etc the list goes on) and you can spend days trying to figure out how to get in contact with actual customer support that can help, or, you can spend days waiting for someone to actually mobilise on the issues.
      Shinsengumi