Some Exchange Online users reporting email problems

Some Exchange Online users reporting email problems

Summary: Some users of Microsoft's hosted Exchange Online service were without email for hours due to what Microsoft called a service interruption.

SHARE:

Right on the heels of a June 23 Lync Online outage affecting a number of users in North America, a number of Exchange Online users are reporting email problems.

exchangeemaildown

On June 24, a number of Exchange Online users on Twitter were complaining they were not receiving email. As of noon ET, a number of these users said they had been without email all morning.

Exchange Online is Microsoft's hosted email service. Exchange Online is available as a standalone service, as well as part of Microsoft's Office 365 bundle of services that include hosted Exchange, SharePoint and Lync. (It's worth pointing out that neither these standalone services nor Office 365 is hosted on Microsoft's Azure public cloud at this point.)

A June 24 thread on the Office 365 Community site included questions from several users who have been unable to sign into Office 365 and/or Exchange Online. Some of these users said that the Service Health Dashboard indicated there were no problems.

 But I did see one user's dashboard (thanks @BrianForLLP) that indicated that as of 10 a.m. ET, Microsoft was acknowledging it was experiencing a service interruption.

"Current Status: Microsoft has identified an issue in which a portion of capacity responsible for facilitating connectivity to the Exchange Online service has entered into a degraded state. Engineers are actively working on a solution to remediate impact."

Cloud service degradations, interruptions and outages happen. Right now, I don't know how widespread today's problems are. I am an Office 365 Small Business user using Exchange Online and I am not currently affected by this issue. But others definitely are. And given this problem happened just a day after Lync Online had problems due to "network routing infrastructure issues," it's worth calling out, in my opinion.

I've asked Microsoft officials for an update as to what's happening and what steps are being taken to resolve this issue. No word back so far. If and when I get more, I will update this post.

Update 1 (1:15 pm ET): I have been hearing from users across the US affected by the outage, as well as at least one user in Canada. Some users are reporting that their sent emails are bouncing and being marked as undeliverable. One user said his dashboard is indicating that Microsoft is not planning to provide an update on the situation until 7 pm UTC (3 pm ET). 

Update 2 (2:30 pm ET): Not much from Microsoft on this, but for what it's worth, here's the statement on the Exchange Online problems from a spokesperson:

"Some Exchange customers are experiencing email delays. Our engineering team is actively working to resolve this issue. We recommend customers visit the service health dashboard for real-time updates."

As some users have noted, their health dashboards are indicating all is well when it is not. And a number of users are reporting not just delays, but complete inability to sign into Outlook.

Also: I am no longer receiving all my email through Exchange Online. Several messages I was told were sent to me haven't shown up.

Update 3 (3:15 pm ET): 7 pm UTC has come and gone with no update. @BrianForLLP's updated dashboard is now indicating Microsoft will provide an update on the situation at 9 pm UTC, or 5 pm ET.

Update 4 (4:30 pm ET): I just got a bunch of delayed emails delivered to my hosted Outlook inbox. (Most were notes from readers letting me know Exchange Online was down, ironically.)

As my ZDNet colleague Simon Bisson noted, the outage seems to have been resolved. Here's what his service dashboard is now saying happened:

"Current Status: Engineers have mitigated impact by rerouting traffic away from the degraded capacity. Mail flow is now improving and customers will begin to see service recovery as messages are being delivered and email queues drain.

Customer impact: Affected customers were unable to send and receive messages sent through the Exchange Online Protection service. This affected inbound messages from external senders as well as sending to external recipients. Additionally, customers running in a hybrid scenario with on-premise mailboxes and those in the Office 365 cloud may have seen mail delays."

Update 5 (June 25): Microsoft sent me this statement around 7 pm ET on June 24:

"On Tuesday, June 24th, 2014, at approximately 6:30 AM EDT, some North American customers experienced email delays with Exchange Online. The issue has since been resolved and the service is now functioning normally. We sincerely apologize to our customers for any inconvenience this incident may have caused and continuously strive to improve our service and using these opportunities to drive even greater excellence in our service delivery."

Topics: Cloud, Collaboration, Microsoft

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).

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

23 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Has this started affecting MS cloud products?

    :)
    jessepollard
    • it is a scroogle conspiracy

      everyone knows they are one of the least ethical companies out there. And no I am not being sarcastic but we all know how jessie likes to post on any Microsoft article, mister ABMer himself.
      hoppmang
      • I just asked a question that I'm quite sure others are also asking.

        But trying to accuse Google of instigating this is just stupid.
        jessepollard
      • as long as google exists

        as long as google exists, no one can beat them.
        Mac_Win
  • Outage is hitting O365 in Puerto Rico as well

    We are having intermittent email delivery, errors, and the like. Our dashboard states that there are NO problems with Exchange.
    rmmackay
  • no problems here

    None of my personal or Office365 small business items are having an issue (and none of the clients I have are either).

    However as we are all Australian based our stuff is running out of the SE Asia data centers.

    My Azure stuff is fine as well - which is all out of East Asia.
    aesonaus
  • We're down

    I manage 14 companies Exchange through Office 365, and 8 of them have been completely down for 4+ hours. Right in the middle of the work day. Microsoft phone support basically wants you to wait it out. We're from Canada.
    jordanspringer
  • Yup, Down.

    My personal account and the one for my client.

    MS had posted some notices they were moving stuff around on the back end. Looks like someone screwed the pooch.
    Panthro90
  • Exchange online protection

    It looks like the Exchange online protection either has several servers down or is in the middle of a denial of service attack.

    When trying to test the smtp servers I am getting this error...
    421 4.3.2 The maximum number of concurrent server connections has exceeded a lim
    it, closing transmission channel
    joem6452
    • Some email starting to flow

      It looks like they are starting to work out the problem. I am starting to have some successes in sending test emails.
      joem6452
  • We are down

    Yesterday Lync now today Exchange...what is going???
    rgatl
  • Outage

    My personal exchange account is hosted by them ... no email service (in or out) since 9:06 AM EDT June 24, '14. I'm getting the DTs!!!

    Admin Health reports everything is great except for email ... it's down ...
    craig@...
  • Outlook Outage Update

    Here's the current status ...

    Current Status: Engineers have identified the potential cause of Exchange Online connectivity issues and are formulating a remediation plan.

    Customer Impact: Affected customers are unable to access the Exchange Online service.

    Incident Start Time: Tuesday, June 24, 2014, at 1:11 PM UTC

    Next Update: Tuesday, June 24, 2014, at 9:00 PM UTC
    craig@...
  • Update?

    Our IT provider mentioned that they are going to give an update at 4:00pm. Has anyone else heard this? We are totally out of commission right now and have been since 8:55am. Thank you so much for this blog!
    taffins66
  • Corporate Down in Chicago

    Our email has been sporadically up and down all day. We are O365 in the cloud.
    060462
  • Where is Microsofts urgency

    if this were effecting Facebook this would be fixed already
    freyboylv
  • Next update ...

    ... isn't due till 5:00 PM EDT.

    EX7211 Jun 24, 2014 2:55 PM Service interruption Current Status: Engineers have identified the potential cause of Exchange Online connectivity issues and are formulating a remediation plan.

    Customer Impact: Affected customers are unable to access the Exchange Online service.

    Incident Start Time: Tuesday, June 24, 2014, at 1:11 PM UTC

    Next Update: Tuesday, June 24, 2014, at 9:00 PM UTC
    craig@...
  • Thanks

    Thank you Craig for the update!
    taffins66
  • Hello? Is there anybody out there?

    We've been down since the start of the work day today. I was able to speak with MS Tech Support this morning (after being put on hold for 1 hour +) with the assurance that the issue will not take the whole day to resolve. They also told me that they will call me back after 2 hours to give me an update. It's now 4:40 PM--no return calls, no updates. We've also received feedback that our MS 365-based email addresses are rejecting external emails. Basically, the day is lost and we are helpless! We are in Toronto/Ottawa, Canada with about 25 users affected.
    heygiselle
  • Most outages seem to be networking issues, not service issues

    Maybe its just me, but the real underlying problem with any major vendor's (Google, Microsoft, you name it) outages seem to be not with their own software, but with the underlying network infrastructure (usually provided by Cisco).

    Anyone care to comment?
    Ian Easson