Microsoft's Business Productivity Online Services (BPOS) cloud messaging and collaboration services suffered its fourth outage in just over a month Wednesday, this time going offline for some customers for more than two hours and taking its Online Service Health Dashboard with it.
Around 11 a.m. EST Wednesday BPOS users flocked to Microsoft BPOS user forums to report issues logging into, sending and receiving Exchange Online e-mail. And adding insult to injury, they couldn't see what was causing those issues because the Online Service Health Dashboard, which offers insight into outages and their causes, was also out of commission.
“Starting at 7:40 am PDT, some BPOS customers served from the Americas region began experiencing intermittent issues connecting to services due to network equipment issues in the data center," Microsoft said in an e-mail to CRN. "Exchange Online and SharePoint Online were restored at 9:11 am. Single sign-on services were restored at 10:24 am and all services returned to normal at 11:19 am. During this incident, customers were updated via social media channels, as access to the Service Health Dashboard was impacted by this incident. We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused our customers.”
Microsoft could not say Wednesday afternoon how many customers were impacted.
During the outage, Microsoft kept BPOS customers up to speed via the Microsoft Online Twitter feed with updates roughly every 30 minutes. Starting at around noon EST, Microsoft said it was investigating a "network connectivity issue for some in North America." About an hour later, Microsoft Online said that the source of the network problem was pinpointed and some hardware components were replaced.
Shortly after 2 p.m. EST, Microsoft Online said "all services should be healthy and online."
The most recent BPOS outage comes as Microsoft preps for the June 28 release of Microsoft Office 365, which will phase out BPOS to become Microsoft's de facto cloud application suite. According to Microsoft, Office 365 "should provide a more stable service."
Wednesday's Microsoft BPOS outage was the cloud service's fourth outage since May. Between May 10 and May 13, Microsoft BPOS suffered a string of outages that caused lengthy cloud e-mail delays for BPOS users. Then, on May 19, Microsoft said its Exchange Online cloud e-mail service was hit with a software problem that caused intermittent e-mail delays for customers in the Americas.
BPOS is among a host of cloud services that recently suffered cloud outages, the most notable of which Amazon's cloud outage in April. Amazon's cloud outage saw the cloud pioneer's cloud services knocked offline, in some cases for days, when a network configuration upgrade went awry.