Microsoft Adds Dashboard for Monitoring BPOS Services
Microsoft this week rolled out a dashboard tool for customers around the globe using its Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) hosted services.
The tool, called the "Microsoft Online Service Health Dashboard," provides a graphical user interface that enables account administrators to monitor BPOS service uptimes and downtimes. It features typical green, yellow and red icons to indicate "normal service," "performance degradation" and "service interruption," respectively.
A screenshot of the dashboard is shown in this Microsoft blog post by Charles Van Heusen, a Microsoft partner solutions advisor. Van Heusen said in the blog post that the dashboard can help users sort out when service interruptions occur due to problems with Microsoft's online services vs. network issues on the customer's side.
Van Heusen also pointed to a service status page (requires login) for the Microsoft Online Services wiki that provides resources for Microsoft's BPOS partners.
BPOS-Standard customers can currently access the dashboard, based on the location of their service's datacenter. There are three different URLs to access the service depending on location: one for the Americas, EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) and APAC (Asia Pacific). Accessing the dashboard requires a Microsoft Online Services user name and password.
According to Microsoft's announcement, the dashboard shows the current daily status of BPOS services. Users can click on the colored icons in the dashboard to drill down to additional information. The dashboard also shows historical service uptime data going back 35 days. Customers have to contact Microsoft's support to claim credit on outages that affect service level agreements (SLAs).
Microsoft typically promises 99.9 percent uptime in its SLAs for BPOS services. The company this month admitted to service outages that triggered SLA compensation for some of its BPOS customers. The outages occurred due to a network upgrade effort by Microsoft.
Microsoft currently offers a public RSS feed that can be used by anyone to check the status of BPOS services. Microsoft hasn't yet hooked that feed to the dashboard user interface. Possibly, Microsoft would do that if it gets the customer requests, according to comments by "paulenglis" in Microsoft's announcement. A Microsoft spokesperson indicated today by e-mail that the company will still use RSS feeds "to communicate [BPOS] service status."
Microsoft plans to integrate the dashboard with the Microsoft Online Services Admin Center (MOAC) in a future MOAC update. IT orgs with MOAC sign-in credentials can use those credentials to access the dashboard.
"The team is working to make the Service Health Dashboard integrate with the Microsoft Online Admin Center (MOAC) as soon as possible," the Microsoft spokesperson indicated, adding that "Microsoft updates BPOS with new capabilities every 90 days."
BPOS services are offered in bundles of applications hosted by Microsoft and offered under "standard" or "dedicated" hosting agreements. BPOS customers pay monthly service charges based on the number of users. The services tap into a number of Microsoft solutions, including Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Office Live Meeting, Office Communications Online, Dynamics CRM Online, and a few others, such as the Windows Intune desktop management solution (currently in beta release).
Microsoft announced this month that it has closed its Windows Intune beta to new participants. The company plans to rollout the Windows Intune service sometime next year.
Kurt Mackie is online news editor for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.