Microsoft Working To Restore Azure Services Across Global Network

Microsoft's Azure public cloud service in many regions across the U.S., Europe and Asia remained spotty Wednesday in the midst of a global outage, the cause of which has yet to be explained.

The Azure status page reports a cascade of problems and service disruptions beginning at just after 7 p.m. Eastern, starting for some customers using the Traffic Manager feature, who were experiencing latency while updating their profiles. The incident was mitigated, according to the status page.

But a number of new notices followed on the status page, reporting additional problems before 8 p.m. Eastern, about the time complaints from Azure customers about web outages started appearing on social media.

[Related: The 10 Biggest Cloud Outages Of 2014 (So Far)]

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The first reported Azure problem was experiencing "connectivity issues" across multiple services, including storage, websites, search and backup services, in Northern Europe and Japan. That incident was classified a partial service interruption.

Similar notices followed, with problems reported in other parts of Asia, across the U.S. and in Western Europe.

Every problem noted on the status page was said to have been mitigated by Wednesday morning, but Microsoft cloud customers were still having problems.

"Microsoft is investigating an issue affecting access to some Microsoft services. We are working to restore full access to these services as quickly as possible," a Microsoft spokesperson told CRN.

The widespread nature of the latest Azure outage is a cause for concern, according to Lydia Leong, a vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner.

Leong tweeted on Tuesday evening: "Microsoft's disastrous inability to keep Azure outages confined to a single region is a major red flag for enterprises considering Azure."

Leong pointed out that Microsoft still has not explained what caused the problems its public cloud experienced in August.

Yuri Sagalov, CEO of AeroFS, told CRN that many Azure customers, especially those in Europe, probably could have done nothing to prevent losing their service.

"Because Europe has very strict data sovereignty laws, many customers must keep their data in EU-based data centers and, in this particular case, both of Microsoft's Northern Europe and Eastern Europe regions went down -- which is essentially all of Azure Europe," Sagalov told CRN.

Aside from those types of cases, customers can mitigate downtime by following some best practices, according to Sagalov.

"Specifically, customers can avoid downtime here by deploying their software in multiple regions, or even multiple clouds, to mitigate the failures of one region," Sagalov told CRN.