Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Microsoft Outlook Experiencing Outage Issues

A few days ago, many users had to face issues regarding the interruption in the services of Microsoft Outlook, especially the SkyDrive cloud storage service and the Peoples contacts application. Although Microsoft claimed to rectify these issues five hours later, there were several instances where the people were still not able to access email on mobile devices that relied on EAS, which is a category that includes iPhones, in which iOS uses EAS for synchronization. Although Microsoft said it had already taken steps to fix this issue, it took nearly three days to restore Outlook.
Microsoft said that, “the failure in a caching service of Exchange ActiveSync (EAS), the popular synchronization service widely used to sync smart phones and tablets with company email, contacts and calendars stored on Microsoft Exchange Server systems caused these devices to receive an error and continuously try to connect to our service. This resulted in a flood of traffic that our services did not handle properly. We have made two key changes, one that involved increasing network bandwidth in the affected part of the system, and one that involved changing the way error handling is done for devices using Exchange ActiveSync." Earlier this year, same kind of outage issues affected in iOS 6.1-powered iPhones and iPads, which affected not only on-premise Exchange servers within enterprises, but also Microsoft's own infrastructure, including its Office 365 subscription service, thereby leading to the Microsoft problems. However, regarding the interruption of the services of Outlook, Microsoft said that, “A small percentage of mobile users may experience intermittent issues while syncing email and the problem would be solved within a couple of days.”
The Outlook outage issues further increased the Microsoft problems as Microsoft had recently declared that its Office 365 cloud-based service exceeded 99.9% uptime, each of the last four quarters. It also stated that the website can be perfect competitor to Gmail, and could easily outdo it. However, within days of this pompous declaration, Microsoft had to experience such outage issues, causing embarrassment. However, after three days, the software company apologized for a three-day partial outage of the site and said the email service was back up and running, only to note hours later that problems still haunted some customers. It said, “We want to apologize to everyone who was affected by the outage, and we appreciate the patience you have shown us as we worked through the issues”
It is clear that Microsoft is trying hard to fix such issues and retain its customers. However, how far the company would be successful in this is yet to be seen.

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