The Schwartz Cloud Report

Blog archive

Will Outages Affect Your Appetite for Office 365?

Last week's Exchange Online outages provided a healthy reminder that chances are, if you sign on for Microsoft's Office 365, at some point you may be destined to experience service interruptions, if not a full-blown loss of service.

Some angry Microsoft Business Productivity Online Services (BPOS) customers reported they were down for many hours last week. And yesterday, Microsoft confirmed more problems in the form of delays in messages going through (most were by 15 minutes to an hour, All About Microsoft's Mary Jo Foley reported).

Those affected by the outages have expressed frustration and even raised questions as to whether moving off an in-house system to Microsoft's Office 365 is a prudent thing to do.

"If really bad delays continue, there is little doubt we will be migrating back to internal Exchange or maybe corporate Gmail. Business cannot function like this and I would have very little confidence in MS's ability to support its SLA in either this or Office [365]," said one poster to the Microsoft Online Services Forum.

Microsoft acknowledges that service problems are inevitable but expressed confidence that they will be minimal and will be addressed expeditiously. "Any time you run a service for someone else there may be hiccups and we do our best to remove those hiccups," said Tom Rizzo, senior director of Microsoft's Online Services, business in an interview this week.

"We are continuously learning. It's no different than if customers ran the software themselves, where you can continuously learn to run the software better or run your services better or support better, or communications better," Rizzo said. "It's going to be a little bit of a learning process for both us and our customers and our partners, but we're committed a thousand percent to try to make the service as seamless as possible and make sure it's meeting the SLAs that we promised."

Indeed, others were more sanguine about the notion that outages are inevitable regardless whether Exchange, SharePoint and other applications are hosted internally or externally. Case in point is the city of San Francisco, which this week announced it is converting its in-house farm of messaging systems (a mixture of Lotus Notes and Exchange) to Microsoft's Exchange Online.

The city said it will spend $1.2 million a year to convert 23,000 mailboxes to Exchange Online, which is now part of BPOS but will transition to Office 365 over the next year.

San Francisco's CIO Jon Walton said while he was concerned about the outages, it did not affect his decision to go with Exchange Online. He suggested the city has experienced outages with its in-house systems and if there has to be an outage, he'd rather it be Microsoft's problem and not his to deal with.

"In the past when we've had outages, it was a complex problem to solve. You had seven systems. If the outage happened in the evening, you were calling workers back in," Walton said. "With the Microsoft solution, they are available 24x7 to us."

Others I've chatted with this week had similar feelings. What's your take? Have recent outages by Microsoft and other providers affected your willingness to turn your messaging and collaboration infrastructure over to Microsoft even with their financially-backed service-level agreements? Drop me a line at [email protected].

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 05/20/2011 at 1:14 PM


Featured

  • Surface and ARM: Why Microsoft Shouldn't Follow Apple's Lead and Dump Intel

    Microsoft's current Surface flagship, the Surface Pro X, already runs on ARM. But as the ill-fated Surface RT showed, going all-in on ARM never did Microsoft many favors.

  • IT Security Isn't Supposed To Be Easy

    Joey explains why it's worth it to endure a little inconvenience for the long-term benefits of a password manager and multifactor authentication.

  • Microsoft Makes It Easier To Self-Provision PCs via Windows Autopilot When VPNs Are Used

    Microsoft announced this week that the Windows Autopilot service used with Microsoft Intune now supports enrolling devices, even in cases where virtual private networks (VPNs) might get in the way.

  • Most Microsoft Retail Locations To Shut Down

    Microsoft is pivoting its retail operations to focus more on online sales, a plan that would mean the closing of most physical Microsoft Store locations.

comments powered by Disqus

Office 365 Watch

Sign up for our newsletter.

Terms and Privacy Policy consent

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.