Microsoft's Volume Licensing Portal Down Again

The VLSC is a repository where Microsoft's channel partners and volume licensing customers can track volume licensing information, download Microsoft software and manage benefits and subscriptions.

Microsoft isn't saying exactly when the latest round of VLSC downtime began, but frustrated customers unable to access the portal have been venting their spleen on Twitter since Friday afternoon.

"Seriously Microsoft!?! All the resources you have and you can't even meet your own pathetic deadlines for VLSC sight 'improvements,'" wrote one particularly incensed Tweeter.

Microsoft isn't offering much in the way of explanation, other than to note the issued stemmed from a regularly scheduled system update. Microsoft says access to the portal was restored as of 1:20 p.m. PST Monday, and a company spokesperson acknowledged in an e-mail that "some of these updates are taking longer than expected."

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On Friday afternoon, Microsoft said the VLSC would be "undergoing maintenance" until 4:30 p.m. PST Sunday, but the company later pushed that back to Monday morning, and then Monday afternoon. The uncertainty had some partners fearing a repeat of last December's outage, which took down the VLSC for more than a week.

"The concern this time was that the date and time it was to come back kept moving," said Susan Bradley, a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional partner in Fresno, Calif.

Bradley says some parts of the VLSC portal still aren't fully functional, an observation that's also being made on Twitter. "Sure, I can log into the VLSC, but all of my entitlements appear to be gone/missing/not there. Also, can't add any anew," Twitter user 'JeremiahFelt' wrote Monday afternoon.

As it did last December, Microsoft is soliciting feedback from customers and partners on how to improve the functioning of the site. Microsoft incorporated that feedback in its VLSC 3.5 update in April.

This time around, the dearth of information Microsoft is providing makes that a difficult proposition for partners, according to Bradley.

"Given that they only say it was 'regular maintenance' and don't explain the details, it's hard to give them specific advice other than to tell them it's turning into an embarrassing example of how not to run a Website," Bradley told CRN.

"If the issue is truly with 'scheduled maintenance' perhaps shorter, smaller windows of maintenance would be better for everyone, rather than these three days of downtime."