Microsoft Office 365: Don't Call It A Cloud Outage

Microsoft Office 365: Don't Call It A Cloud Outage

No matter how you describe it, plenty of Microsoft Office 365 and Dynamics CRM Online customers were feeling pain today. The reason: A networking issue in one of Microsoft's North America data centers stopped some customers from using Microsoft's cloud applications -- though Microsoft won't label it a cloud outage. Surely, some channel partners were left feeling helpless. The VAR Guy wonders: Is this a one-time setback or is there something inherently wrong with the way Microsoft designs and deploys cloud services?

Open source pundits are quick to claim cloud computing and the Internet were built atop Linux, Apache, and other open source applications. Microsoft critics will claim that Office 365 is nothing more than Microsoft's client-server applications with a fresh coat of paint.

Keeping the Faith

But here's the twist: The VAR Guy still believes in Microsoft's cloud strategy. And gradually, our resident blogger believes, Microsoft will gain plenty of traction with Office 365 and Windows Azure, even if some partners dig in and seek alternatives.

Plenty of cloud service providers already see strong momentum for Windows Server, Hyper-V and other Microsoft technologies. During a phone briefing this week, one of Rackspace's top cloud managers told The VAR Guy that demand for Rackspace's Windows Server and SQL Server cloud services has been incredibly strong.

And earlier today, Intermedia hedged its cloud computing bets. You may recall that Intermedia was the first company to introduce hosted Exchange 2010, beating even Microsoft out the door with that cloud application. But now, Intermedia plans to syndicate Office 365 even as the company continues to promote its own white label hosted Exchange services.

Tense Moments

Still, today was a setback for Office 365. Due to a network issue, some cloud customers couldn't access Office 365 and Dynamics CRM for roughly five hours. For many customers, that's an eternity.

The two key questions:
  • How many more times will Microsoft need to apologize for a cloud outage?
  • How many more times will customers and partners accept that apology?
Hmmm... Microsoft doesn't have much room for error here. But The VAR Guy still says Microsoft will get it right.
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