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Major Microsoft Cloud Outage Blamed on DNS Failure

Yesterday's latest Windows Azure cloud crash, caused by a DNS failure, overshadowed an upgrade to the service and briefly interrupted Microsoft's much-anticipated Xbox One launch last night.

The malfunction apparently brought down portions of the Xbox Live service on the eve of its midnight consumer unveiling. Microsoft is touting the Xbox One release as its most significant gaming launch to date. Fortunately for Microsoft, the outage's impact in Xbox Live didn't lead to major headlines that could have outshined last night's midnight launch.

As speculated, a DNS failure on the management servers outside of Windows Azure indeed was the cause yesterday's failure, Microsoft corporate VP Scott Guthrie confirmed in a tweet last night. "No -- Azure is not having issues (customer apps continue to run fine). The problem is a DNS name server issue outside of azure [sic]," the tweet read.

In addition to Xbox Live inconveniently going down on the eve of the launch of Microsoft's first new upgrade of its Xbox console, Office 365, and SkyDrive also experienced failures.

Yesterday's failures also overshadowed several key upgrades to Windows Azure that Guthrie announced yesterday on his blog including:

  • BizTalk Services: General Availability Release
  • Traffic Manager: General Availability Release
  • Active Directory: General Availability Release of Application Access Support
  • Mobile Services: Active Directory Support, Xamarin support for iOS and Android with C#, Optimistic concurrency
  • Notification Hubs: Price Reduction + Debug Send Support
  • Web Sites: Diagnostics Support for Automatic Logging to Blob Storage
  • Storage: Support for alerting based on storage metrics
  • Monitoring: Preview release of Windows Azure Monitoring Service Library

Microsoft and its key rivals are all in an aggressive race to gain ground in cloud computing on Amazon Web Services. Of course Amazon has had its own share of embarrassing outages.

Presuming yesterday's outages are remediated, as the Windows Azure Service Dashboard indicated this morning, yesterday's failure will be added to the growing annals of disruptions. But it also adds fuel to the fire for opponents of using Windows Azure or any cloud service.


Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 11/22/2013 at 10:58 AM


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