Microsoft Azure Cloud Failure: Outage As A Service
Microsoft’s Azure cloud customers haven’t been sure this week when pesky ongoing outage issues would be resolved, but they can rest assured they’ve been fixed – at least for now.
PC World reports Azure has experienced various problems on and off over nearly two weeks, affecting Cloud Services, Virtual Machines and Websites according to the Azure status website.
The most recent problems were happening in four out of six US regions, as well as Japan and Brazil for Azure’s “Cloud Services”, while the Virtual Machines service was only working in two global Azure regions and down in the rest of the world.
Cloud services are supposed to deliver access to software, customer relationship details, operating systems, databases and more in the cloud, rather than from expensive and costly to maintain servers and equipment in one’s own premises, and for the most part they do just that, and do it well.
Problems arise when the cloud services go down, leaving many without access to crucial information that isn’t always immediately available offline elsewhere.
We also live in a world of extremely variable broadband speeds, with slow speeds affecting the speed and ease with which the cloud can be accessed.
Naturally, such problems are never good news in the short term for customers or Microsoft, but the company has undoubtedly worked hard and fast to fix the problems, given the hugely competitive cloud industry involving Amazon, IBM, Google and others.
US based cloud services were also hard hit following the Edward Snowden NSA spying revelations, which has spooked companies around the world into considering non-US cloud solutions.
The outages also follow news of Microsoft losing a court battle this week, with Intralinks.com reporting “a US court determined that a search warrant issued in the US is sufficient to access data that is housed offshore in another jurisdiction, putting US authorities in deeper conflict with foreign laws, especially data privacy laws in the European Union.”
As Intralinks says, “The case involved Microsoft, who was asked to hand over emails stored in Ireland. Microsoft argued that the data was outside the jurisdiction of the warrant, but a US federal court disagreed”.
Naturally, Microsoft is appealing the decision, but it does raise questions over just how appealing Azure and other US-based cloud services are in the post-Snowden era – and whether “foreign” clouds are any more trustworthy.