Microsoft’s cloud services have suffered a major outage, bringing its Office 365, Hotmail, SkyDrive and other Live cloud-based products intermittently offline today that impacted on as many as 364 million users.
Microsoft was still analyzing the cause of the problem on Friday morning, but said it appeared to be related to the internet’s DNS address system.
“We are investigating service interruption. Will update as soon as more details are available or within hour,” the official Office 365 Twitter feed (@Office365) said.
The official Windows Inside Live blog confirmed other services also had failed.
The outages are believed to be affecting users of Hotmail, MSN.com and all of Microsoft’s cloud-based products across the globe.
Such a major problem is likely to raise questions about the reliability of cloud computing versus local storage.
Especially embarrassing is the temporary loss of Office 365, the company’s alternative to Google’s suite of online apps.
“If you’ve been trying to use Hotmail, SkyDrive, or our other Live properties in the last couple of hours you may have noticed problems accessing our services,” the blog said.
“We’re aware of these issues and actively working to resolve them. We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your patience.”
Microsoft’s senior vice president for Windows Live, Chris Jones, jumped the gun on the company’s blog at 0649 (GMT), saying that services had been restored; however, at 0800 (GMT), he said that customers were still reporting problems, and that the company had moved to resolve it.
“We’re aware of reports, including the comments posted below, that some customers still are seeing issues. We are working on propagating the DNS configure changes, and so it will take some time to restore service to everyone. Again, we appreciate your patience.”
The outage has impacted business and educational institutions around Australia linked to Microsoft’s new Office 365 cloud-based email services.
An online site monitoring tool showed Microsoft’s Hotmail service as heavily impacted about 0850 (GMT).
Windows Live Hotmail is reported to have nearly 364 million users worldwide.
The failure comes one day after a brief, 30-minute outage of Google cloud apps.
Both are likely to highlight the risk organizations have, should they become dependent on cloud services.