Outage hits Microsoft CRM Online, Office 365 customers

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.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

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?

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