Latest Posts

Latest Comments


MS Office 364 not 365


Posted by |

Branding professionals can be really smart. The work that they do can portray the personality, values and even emotions of a company. Sometimes though they can be a little too smart. Let’s take Microsoft for example, one of the biggest brands in the world. Its marketing team probably thought that Microsoft Azure was a great name. It probably thought that Microsoft Office 365 was even better. It gives you access to the Office suite of products via the cloud each day, every day – 365 days of the year.

Not so as it turns out, as news reached us recently of two outages suffered by Microsoft Azure and its Office suite in December alone. Accordingly commentators and the media have now nicknamed it Office 364.

So what was the issue? According to a statement the outage was related to the Active Directory authentication process that affected email service users. While for those users of MS Office 365 it’s unlikely that they will have lost any critical data: for the majority the sent and received emails will have just stalled and then been delivered once the service was up and running.

What was key about the outage was that it clearly demonstrated the issue of relying on the public cloud for critical application such as email. While it doesn’t necessarily sound critical, email is one of those apps that the majority of the workforce simply can’t afford to be without. It also highlights the risk and impact of having a single cloud service without any kind of failover solution.

For me though, it also raises the question about the move by some of the world’s biggest software brands that are taking their enterprise software into the public cloud and whether this is a viable solution for some. Next year it’s likely that we’ll see the launch of MS SQL Server 2016 with even deeper hooks into Microsoft Azure to enable the hybrid cloud vision, a template that will likely be repeated with further Microsoft Server product releases. How many of MS’ customers will be driven into the public cloud? Of course the public cloud option has its place in resourcing a company’s infrastructure but before moving data or critical apps, IT managers need to consider the wider impact if an outage occurs.

For those using the public cloud, it’s unlikely that they’ll have a personal or even accountable relationship with the provider. In fact the closest that many users come to their provider will be tweeting their concerns. Cloud providers need to be accountable. They need to be able to support customers and certainly do their best to alleviate issues if an outage happens. There needs to be a risk and reward approach.

For those MS Office customers, watch out for one more outage next year. It’s a leap year so the Office 365 brand may still be right.



Post a comment

Comment submitted! Comments needs approval before being displayed.