Microsoft Crediting Customers In Recent BPOS Cloud Outage

Microsoft is issuing users of its Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) cloud services a service credit for the downtime they suffered as a result of a massive power outage in Dublin, Ireland that took down the cloud for several hours.

The weekend cloud outage, which also knocked Amazon Web Services' Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), was originally believed to be caused by a lightning strike, but reports surfaced this week indicating that a transformer failure, not lightning, cut the power and conked out Microsoft BPOS for European customers for roughly seven hours.

Amazon is still grappling with the aftermath of the outage and working to bring all cloud services back on track.

In a statement sent to CRN, Microsoft said users affected by the most recent BPOS outage will be issued a credit.

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"We are reaching out to the impacted customers and will proactively provide impacted customers with a 25 percent credit on a future monthly invoice," a Microsoft spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, Amazon would not say whether it will offer a refund or credit to customers affected by the Dublin cloud outage or an Amazon cloud outage in the U.S. Monday night that took out Web sites for major Amazon customers like Netflix, Foursquare and Reddit.

"We've been heads down focused on working with our customers and are now turning to the post mortem," an Amazon spokesperson told CRN in an e-mail.

Monday's Amazon cloud outage came roughly four months after a massive Amazon cloud outage knocked cloud services offline for Amazon customers, many for several days. Amazon's April cloud outage.

That cloud outage was caused by a network traffic shift that was "executed incorrectly" and instead of routing traffic to the other router on the primary network, traffic was shifted to the lower-capacity redundant Elastic Block Store (EBS) network. Amazon said the issue caused EBS volumes in the Northern Virginia Availability Zone to become "stuck" in a "re-mirroring storm." That made the volumes unavailable and created latency and outages.

A week later, Amazon apologized to customers for the cloud outage and offered them a cloud credit.

For Microsoft, the European BPOS cloud outage was the latest in an ongoing stretch of high-profile outages BPOS has suffered over the past few months.

Between May 10 and May 13, Microsoft BPOS suffered a string of cloud 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. And in June and July, Microsoft BPOS suffered cloud outages that not only kicked BPOS services offline, but took down its Online Services Health Dashboard, meaning users had no access to updated information about the cloud downtime.

According to Microsoft, the company offered affected BPOS customers credits in the wake of the earlier May BPOS cloud outages.

"I'd like to apologize to you, our customers and partners, for the obvious inconveniences these issues caused. We know that email is a critical part of your business communication, and my team and I fully recognize our responsibility as your partner and service provider. We will provide a full post mortem, and will also provide additional updates on how our service level agreement (SLA) was impacted. We will be proactively issuing a service credit to our impacted customers," Microsoft Corporate Vice President of Online Services Dave Thompson wrote in a blog post at the time.

Microsoft told CRN that the company did not proactively give customers service credits for the other outages in the U.S.

"For the other issues, Microsoft did not proactively offer credits in the U.S.," a Microsoft spokesperson said.