Parts of Microsoft Azure cloud hit by eight-hour outage, but you probably didn’t notice


Microsoft Corp. has confessed that some of its Azure cloud storage service customers might have “experienced difficulties provisioning new resources or accessing their existing resources” during two outages, one of which lasted for around eight hours on Wednesday night through Thursday morning.

Microsoft Azure’s East U.S. region was the only one to be impacted by the first incident. The company’s Azure status history page says the brownout affected a wide range of services: “Virtual Machines Azure Media Services, Application Insights, Azure Logic Apps, Azure Data Factory, Azure Site Recovery, Azure Cache, Azure Search, Azure Service Bus, Azure Event Hubs, Azure SQL Database, API Management and Azure Stream Analytics.”

The second incident was more widespread, though it didn’t last as long. According to the company, customers as far away as India were affected, with numerous reports of difficulties provisioning storage resources that was caused by “an underlying storage incident.”

Although there are similarities between the first incident and last month’s outage that hit Amazon Web Services, it’s unlikely the impacts were that great. Whereas it seemed like the world had ended during Amazon’s seizure, with numerous headlines announcing that fact in the tech press, there was barely a murmur about Microsoft’s episode.

Most likely, the reason is that this wasn’t a total outage like what happened with Amazon’s S3 service in some regions. Instead, most customers probably just experienced a drop in performance rather than a total failure. In addition, the incident struck during nighttime when U.S. customers are less busy, whereas Amazon’s outage came during the day when demand is at its heaviest.

In its defense, Microsoft says the outage was due to “one storage cluster that lost power and became unavailable,” which comes across as a more reasonable excuse than the “typo” that messed up Amazon’s cloud last month.

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