Microsoft’s recent widespread cloud service outages have been resolved. In a statement sent to the BBC, the company stressed that the current service outage was not caused by a cyber attack, but was brought about by an error in the wide area network (WAN) update it implemented.
The problem affects a wide range of the software giant’s cloud services, including Microsoft Teams, Exchange Online, Outlook, SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business, PowerBi, Microsoft 365 Admin Center, Microsoft Graph, Microsoft Intune, Microsoft Defender for Cloud Apps and Microsoft Defender for Identity. Xbox Live and Microsoft Store applications that rely on Microsoft Azure servers were also affected. This resulted in a large number of problem reports from users of Microsoft 365 services who experienced significant business and work inconvenience on Wednesday.
“Beginning January 25, 2023 at 07:05 UTC, customers may experience network connectivity issues as evidenced by network delays and/or timeouts when attempting to connect to Azure resources in public Azure regions and other Microsoft services including M365, PowerBI,” Microsoft confirmed.
The BBC contacted the company to confirm whether the issue was caused by an attack. However, Microsoft said it stemmed from an update, which it then rolled back to resolve the outage.” We have determined that a recent WAN update may have been the root cause and have taken steps to roll back this update, and the latest telemetry data shows signs of recovery in multiple regions and services, and we are continuing to actively monitor the situation.”
At 8:00 p.m. ET, Microsoft reported that “affected services have been restored and remain stable.”
All in all, it took Microsoft more than five hours to end the issue, but its impact is undeniably significant, as many businesses and organizations rely on its cloud services. For example, in its Q2 FY23 earnings report, Microsoft revealed that its Teams communications platform reached more than 280 million monthly active users during the aforementioned period. Based on this number alone, an hours-long server issue could translate into a huge disruption for companies, organizations and schools around the world. Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent such problems. In the past, Microsoft has highlighted this fact, describing “service events like outages as an unfortunate inevitability of the technology industry.
“Of course, we are constantly improving the reliability of the Microsoft Azure cloud platform,” said Mark Russinovich, chief technology officer of Microsoft Azure in 2020.” Despite these efforts, we recognize the unfortunate reality that – given the scale of our operations and the speed of change – we will never be able to completely avoid failure. At these times, we strive to be as open and transparent as possible to ensure that all affected customers and partners are aware of what is happening.”