Windows Azure Restored Following Global Outage from Expired SSL Certificate

Microsoft’s Windows Azure storage was back online Saturday after an expired SSL certificate left customers unable to access their data.

The cloud service went down Friday afternoon when the SSL certificate expired and remained unavailable until Saturday morning. The worldwide outage affected HTTPS traffic accessing storage, though did not impact less secure HTTP traffic, the company confirmed on the Windows Azure Dashboard.

“We have executed repair steps to update SSL certificate on the impacted clusters and have recovered to over 99 percent availability across all sub-regions,” according to an updated alert on the dashboard Saturday. “We will continue monitoring the health of the Storage service and SSL traffic for the next 24 hrs. Customers may experience intermittent failures during this period. We apologize for any inconvenience this causes our customers.”

“That did little to console some customers. “Most of our apps are screwed up now! “WHATS NEXT? All compute instances die because someone at the data center switched them off?,” wrote one customer on a Windows Azure MSDN forum. “This is unacceptable, I'm supposed to release an enterprise app on this platform?,” added Microsoft partner MJ Fara. “Imagine how many phone calls I would have gotten by now from very angry customers. Sad.” And another partner who identified himself as Matt from Cambridge said: “Pretty amazing that the entire Windows Azure storage platform is offline globally.”

Others took it in stride, noting it was an error any customer or partner could make. “I bet a lot of people here have accidentally let an SSL cert expire, or nearly done so,” said Brian Reischl of Sepia Labs, a company consisting of former NewsGator employees, who first pointed to the SSL certificate with a screen capture Friday. “I know I have. It's easy to forget, right? It's an amateur mistake, but it happens. You end up with some egg on your face, add a calendar reminder for next year, and move on.”


About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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Reader Comments:

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 Marko

fortune 100 company here and this exact same thing happened to us. no excuse. the ssl vendors claim they also have systems in place to warn you as well but it still happens.

Mon, Feb 25, 2013 Dror Belleli Israel

To ensure service availability and avoid unnecessary downtime caused by SSL certificate expiration, a cross-organization certificate management is needed. DCM "Digital Certificate Monitor" is the solution administrators need in order to accomplish the challenging mission of certificates management. DCM manages certificates issued by Microsoft CA’s and certificates scanned in predefined IP ranges and ports For more information Dror Belleli CEO

Mon, Feb 25, 2013 Travis KC

To help make sure Microsoft's boneheaded mistake doesn't happen to anybody else, we just launched a free SSL certificate monitor:

Sat, Feb 23, 2013 7ftchkn

Surprisingly, this will not dissuade my CIO's desire to move all of stuff into Azure.

Sat, Feb 23, 2013

Nearly as embarrassing as the time that MS let their domain registry expire and some guy picked up "" for 35 bucks.

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