Global Office 365 outage coincides with US power cut

Microsoft’s hosted productivity suite Office 365 was hit with outages around the world for three hours this morning.

The outage was first acknowledged by the official Office 365 twitter account at around 2AM GMT. Roughly an hour later, the account said it was still working to restore service. "Seems to be a DNS issue. Intermittent connectivity for all regions," Microsoft said in a subsequent tweet.

The outages appeared to affect all of Microsoft’s cloud services around the world, including Hotmail, SkyDrive and Windows Live. In a blog post at 05:45 GMT, Chris Jones, senior VP for Windows Live, said that services had been restored. However, he had to reiterate that message more than two hours later, saying that the DNS configuration changes had taken time to propagate through systems around the world.

Customers posted messages underneath the post from Japan, Germany, Canada, Australia, India, the UK, the US and El Salvador, many of them asking for a full explanation.

A separate blog post by an Office365 spokesman – which has since been removed – initially said that the global outage was due to a power cut in the southwest United States."Due to the power outage affecting much of the southwest, multiple Microsoft services were taken offline this evening around 8:45 PM PST," it said. Australian site took a screengrab of the post.

At the same time as the Office 365 outage, a large power cut hit the West coast of the US, leaving 5 million people without electricity. According to the Associated Press, the outage was likely to have been caused by a worker removing one piece of malfunctioning monitoring equipment at a substation in Arizona.

However, a Microsoft spokesperson who spoke to Information Age would not comment on any connection between the two incidents. If there is a connection, Microsoft would have to explain why a US power cut would affect cloud customers around the world. Microsoft hosts its European instance of Office 365 in its data centre in Dublin.

European Office 365 customers suffered an outage as recently as August, which the company blamed on a ‘networking issue’. Other recent cloud services disruptions include an outage at Amazon’s EC2 cloud hosting service in April this year, affecting websites including foursquare and Reddit. Google Docs suffered an outage on Wednesday this week.

Beatrice Bartlay

Beatrice Bartlay founded 2B Interface, a temporary and permanent staffing agency in 2005 and has since been serving the UK recruitment sector with specialised services. With more than ten years’ experience...

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