Windows Azure gets hit with extended down time

Microsoft got a rude awakening on Tuesday thanks to a global shut down of its popular Windows Azure cloud-based service. Azure was shut down for nearly 10 hours starting on Tuesday, leaving a lot of enterprise customers in the dark.

As it turned out, the issue that caused Windows Azure to shut down was due to, of all things, a simple software bug. In a post on the Windows Azure blog site, Microsoft's Bill Laing stated:

While final root cause analysis is in progress, this issue appears to be due to a time calculation that was incorrect for the leap year.   Once we discovered the issue we immediately took steps to protect customer services that were already up and running, and began creating a fix for the issue.

Yes, that means Microsoft's programmers could not figure out how to tell Azure that Wednesday was in fact Leap Day.

In another blog post written today, Laing said that all of the systems were now up and running. He added:

The teams are already hard at work on the root cause analysis and I will share those details on this blog in the next 10 days. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this has caused.

There's no word yet if Microsoft plans to offer Windows Azure customers any compensation for the downtime this week.

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