Microsoft's cloud-based Business Productivity Online Suite suffered an outage on Wednesday, leaving some customers unable to sign in or access email and other services.
The business collaboration and messaging package, which is set to be updated and renamed Office 365 within a week, has seen multiple similar outages in the past. The three-hour outage on Wednesday began at 7:40am California time, Microsoft confirmed.
"Some BPOS customers served from the Americas region began experiencing intermittent issues connecting to services due to network equipment issues in the datacentre," Microsoft told ZDNet UK.
Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) includes cloud-hosted versions of Office and other productivity tools. On the Microsoft support forum, customers in the US reported problems signing in and using Microsoft Exchange Online and SharePoint Online.
"Started out seeing Outlook randomly disconnecting from Exchange, and then finally totally disconnected. Also can't get their health dashboard to even load," wrote a user by the name of 'DarkOneX_Work'.
I talked to BPOS support, and he couldn't even generate a support ticket because that system was down also. This looks very, very serious.– Tom.pro
However, some people reported they were still able to log into their email via Outlook Web Access (OWA), and said that while there were issues with BPOS sign-in, there was still some reduced functionality.
"We're down [too] in California. OWA is very, very slow to respond. Sign-on tool fails. I talked to BPOS support, and he couldn't even generate a support ticket because that system was down also. This looks very, very serious," user 'Tom.pro' wrote on the same forum.
Microsoft said the Exchange and SharePoint services came back online about an hour and a half after the problems began, and single sign-on was restored about an hour after that.
People were not able to access the company's Service Health Dashboard, which tracks service issues, during the outage. Instead, Microsoft used its official Microsoft Online Services account on Twitter to keep customers informed.
"All services returned to normal at 11:19 am," Microsoft said. "During this incident, customers were updated via social media channels, as access to the Service Health Dashboard was impacted by this incident."
On Twitter, Microsoft tried to reassure one user that the upcoming Office 365 will be more reliable than the BPOS service. "365 should provide a more stable service. It is built from ground up new and reports and expectations are very good," the post said.
Office 365 services, which are still in beta, were not affected by the outages, Microsoft said. Like BPOS, the new suite of tools — which include Office Online, Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Office web apps and the Lync videoconferencing software — are hosted in the cloud. However, unlike BPOS, the Office 365 tools are based on the 2010 versions of the desktop software, whereas BPOS is based on the 2007 versions.
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