Microsoft offers Office 365 customers 25 percent credit for down time

Earlier this week, Microsoft's Office 365 cloud-based office software suite suffered from some downtime along with its SkyDrive cloud services. The amount of downtime was over three hours and later Microsoft released a brief statement blaming the issues on "a networking issue affecting customers of some Microsoft services hosted out of one of our North American data centers." Even though the downtime was relatively brief,  ZDNet is reporting that Microsoft has sent a letter to its Office 365 customers that it will be issuing "a credit equal to 25 percent of your monthly invoice." The actual credit will appear on a customer's future invoice, according to Microsoft's statement, but could take as many as 90 days to actually appear as a credit.

Microsoft's letter also repeated its previous statement, saying that the Office 365 downtime was due to an issue at one of its data centers. However it did add, "The data center’s networking facilities have been remediated and we are investigating the root cause." Microsoft also said, "We continue to monitor the overall network very closely to maintain high levels of service to customers."

Office 365 launched in June and represents Microsoft's biggest effort yet at offering services via cloud computing. Microsoft, especially its CEO Steve Ballmer, have talked in the past about how Microsoft will be moving more and more towards cloud computing in the future. Hopefully this minor glitch in both Office 365 and Skydrive won't scare off customers from Microsoft's cloud plans.

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Microsoft: Sorry our service was down for a few hours, here's 25% of your money back.
Apple: There is not a problem. You're just not using it right.

warwagon said,
Does windows update still have 100% up time?

I can't say I've ever noticed Windows Update being off-line for a very long time. So at I would say the uptime for WU is practically 99.9%

StevenNT said,

I can't say I've ever noticed Windows Update being off-line for a very long time. So at I would say the uptime for WU is practically 99.9%

So Microsoft should just make office 360 just like that. Windows update, shows it can be done.

warwagon said,

So Microsoft should just make office 360 just like that. Windows update, shows it can be done.

Except Office 365 is completely different from Windows Update, lol.

Omen1393 said,

Except Office 365 is completely different from Windows Update, lol.

Yeah, that did seem like a bit of an ... odd ... thing for warwagon to say.
You could say the same about any online service regardless of its complexity or the type of service provided.

That said, zero downtime can't be reliably achieved (without a level of infrastructure beyond just about anyone). It can be achieved for a time, sure... But unless you control the servers, the datacenters, and every pipe between you and several major Internet backbone links... No way to guarantee it.

Esvandiary said,

Yeah, that did seem like a bit of an ... odd ... thing for warwagon to say.
You could say the same about any online service regardless of its complexity or the type of service provided.

That said, zero downtime can't be reliably achieved (without a level of infrastructure beyond just about anyone). It can be achieved for a time, sure... But unless you control the servers, the datacenters, and every pipe between you and several major Internet backbone links... No way to guarantee it.

Odd thing to say, maybe! But with almost 100% up time on a service like windows update? Though it may be complete different, I can't think of another example of a service that gets more traffic and uses as much bandwidth while still achieving a 99.999% (or 100% for all we know) of up time.

warwagon said,

...

I don't think it's the sheer bandwidth that is the issue here; as you say, MS have proven that they're more than capable of doing that.

The issue is that Windows Update is a relatively "simple" system compared to Office 365; WU just has to provide clients with information about what updates are available that apply to their machine, and tell it where to get them.
Contrast this with Office 365, which must require a massive amount of processing power for all the HTTP requests (both for loading documents and AJAX requests for updating them), as well as the added complexity of making sure that such a system works correctly and stores data reliably.

Naturally neither system is truly simple in any sense of the word - both are very impressive pieces of engineering indeed - but I imagine WU is a lot easier to keep available.