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Office 365 E-Mail and Calendar Services Go Down

Microsoft's e-mail Office 365 service came to a halt for some users this afternoon.

Reports suggested that e-mails could not be sent or received in some parts of the Southern California area starting in the mid-afternoon time period. A spike in reports of Office 365 e-mail problems was recorded by the DownDetector.com site, which tracks service outages, starting at around 2:00 p.m. Pacific Time (5:00 p.m. Eastern Time).

Account administrators were seeing red for Office 365's e-mail and calendar services, which is based on Exchange Online. The view looked something like this shared graphic:

[Click on image for larger view.] Service Health Dashboard for Office 365.

The DownDetector.com site had individual comments about Office 365 e-mail service outages suggesting that e-mail outages may have also affected New Mexico, Kansas and Utah as well. One commenter at the site provided the following information, possibly reflecting information that goes to account administrators:

Current Status: Engineers have determined that this issue may be related to a recent update to the service and are currently working to revert the update.

User Experience: Affected users are unable to connect to the Exchange Online service when using multiple protocols including Outlook, Outlook Web App (OWA), Exchange ActiveSync (EAS), and Exchange Web Services (EWS). Affected users may also experience delays when sending and receiving messages.

Customer Impact: A higher than average number of customers are reporting this issue. Analysis indicates that customers will likely have some users experiencing this issue.

Incident Start Time: Wednesday, July 15, 2015, at 9:25 PM UTC

Next Update by: Thursday, July 16, 2015, at 12:00 AM UTC

Microsoft's Twitter portal reflecting Office 365 status had very little information. It listed a number of Office 365 incident numbers corresponding to Exchange Online problems that affected e-mail and calendar access.

The Office 365 e-mail service appeared to be coming back online in the early evening.

Update 7/16: The e-mail send and receive problems occurred on July 15 at 2:25 p.m. Pacific Time (5:25 p.m. Eastern Time) after Microsoft updated its Exchange Online service. The update was reverted, and Microsoft reported that the incident ended at 6:30 p.m. Pacific Time (9:30 p.m. Eastern Time). The service outage tracked for four hours overall, but organizations may have experienced it differently, depending on their locations.

Microsoft promises "three nines" (99.9 percent) uptime in its Office 365 service level agreements (SLAs), which amounts to about eight hours of downtime per year. However, Office 365 subscribers have to report the incident to Microsoft and they have to not have alternatives they could use during the outage to get a service credit under the SLA.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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