January 26, 2023
SAN FRANCISCO – Microsoft said on Wednesday it had recovered all of its cloud services after a networking outage took down its cloud platform Azure along with services such as Teams and Outlook used by millions around the globe.
Azure’s status page showed services were impacted in Americas, Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa. Only services in China and its platform for governments were not hit.
By late morning, Azure said most customers should have seen services resume after a full recovery of the Microsoft Wide Area Network (WAN).
An outage of Azure, which has 15 million corporate customers and over 500 million active users, according to Microsoft data, can impact multiple services and create a domino effect as almost all of the world’s largest companies use the platform.
Businesses have become increasingly dependent on online platforms after the pandemic caused a shift to more employees working from home.
Earlier, Microsoft said it had determined a network connectivity issue was occurring with devices across the Microsoft WAN. This impacts connectivity between clients on the internet to Azure, as well as connectivity between services in data centres, it said.
Microsoft later tweeted that it had rolled back a network change that it believed was causing the issue and was using “additional infrastructure to expedite the recovery process”.
Microsoft did not disclose the number of users affected by the disruption, but data from outage tracking website Downdetector showed thousands of incidents across continents.
The Downdetector site tracks outages by collating status reports from various sources including users.
Microsoft’s cloud business had helped shore up its fiscal second-quarter earnings on Tuesday. It forecast third-quarter revenue in its so-called intelligent cloud business would be US$21.7 billion (S$28.5 billion) to US$22 billion despite worries that the lucrative cloud segment for big tech companies could be hit hard as customers look to cut spending.
Azure’s share of the cloud computing market rose to 30 per cent in 2022, trailing Amazon’s AWS, according to estimates from BofA Global Research.
Microsoft joined other big tech companies in turning to layoffs to ride out the weaker economy, announcing last week it was cutting over 10,000 jobs.
Its shares were down 3.2 per cent at $234.41.
Outages of Big Tech platforms are not uncommon as several companies ranging from Google to Meta have seen service disruptions. Azure, the second largest cloud services provider after Amazon, faced outages last year.
During the outage, users faced problems in exchanging messages, joining calls or using any features of Teams application. Many users took to Twitter to share updates about the service disruption, with #MicrosoftTeams trending as a hashtag on the social media site.
Microsoft Teams, used by more than 280 million people globally, forms an integral part of daily operations for businesses and schools, which use the service to make calls, schedule meetings and organise their workflow.
There were few signs of significant disruption at major UK-based financial services firms, where multiple messaging applications offered by providers like Movius and Symphony are used alongside Microsoft Teams to connect bankers with clients, and office-based staff with colleagues working remotely.
Two London-based sources, working at two major global banks, said they hadn’t even noticed a problem.
Deutsche Boerse Group, which operates the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, said there had been no impact on trading. Frankfurt-based Commerzbank AG said in a statement that Microsoft was investigating several issues impacting the bank.
Among the other services affected were Microsoft Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business, according to the company’s status page.
“I think there is a very big debate to be had on resiliency in the comms and cloud space and the critical applications,” Symphony Chief Executive Brad Levy said. REUTERS