Microsoft Exchange Cloud E-Mail Glitch Causes Delays For Customers


Microsoft on Friday acknowledged that its Exchange Online cloud e-mail service was hit with a software problem Thursday that caused intermittent e-mail delays for customers in the Americas.

In a Friday post to Microsoft's Online Service Health Dashboard, which was re-posted to its BPOS support forum, the company offered its explanation for what happened. Microsoft said less than one percent of customers were affected by the e-mail delays, which began at 8:48 a.m. PST when monitoring systems detected abnormally large email queues in 30 percent of Exchange Online hub servers.

By 9:54 a.m. PST, e-mail queues had fallen to normal levels on all but one hub server, and at 11:21 a.m. PST, Microsoft's BPOS, Exchange and Forefront Engineering teams identified the software problem causing the issue. Microsoft fixed the software problem by adding a single new hub server that relieved the backlog and restored the free flow of email by 3:33 p.m. PST.

Microsoft, as it did Monday in the wake of a string of BPOS outages that affected users last week, apologized for Thursday's outage and said it plans to publish a full post mortem within seven business days. Microsoft also said it's working to fix the underlying software problem to prevent a recurrence.

Exchange Online hub server issues were also involved in last week's Exchange Online outage. Last Tuesday, malformed e-mail traffic led to an e-mail backlog that caused six- to nine-hour e-mail delivery delays for customers.

"I'd like to apologize to you, our customers and partners, for the obvious inconveniences these issues caused," Microsoft Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Online Services David Thompson said Monday in response to last week's issues. "We know that e-mail is a critical part of your business communication, and my team and I fully recognize our responsibility as your partner and service provider."

Microsoft launched its Online Service Health Dashboard in response to customer pressure after two significant Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) outages last August and September. But Microsoft only provides this information to BPOS customers and trial members, unlike Google and Salesforce.com, both of which make service status dashboards available to the public.