Are You Helpless When Microsoft Office 365 Goes Dark?

Are You Helpless When Microsoft Office 365 Goes Dark?

Portions of Microsoft's Office 365 and Dynamics CRM Online suffered a five-hour outage today. Microsoft says a networking issue -- rather than a true cloud outage -- impacted some North America cloud customers. Either way I was left wondering: Are customers and MSPs essentially helpless when Microsoft's cloud can't deliver applications?

I'm reminded of my days as an IBM intern in 1992. Working at IBM's Poughkeepsie, N.Y., mainframe plant, there were a few times when the central mainframe went down. Suddenly, all productivity stopped. Hundreds of employees headed out the front door get a nicotine fix. Hundreds more headed to the cafeteria for a coffee break. We were all helpless without that mainframe.

And so, it's sort of back to the future with cloud computing. Generally speaking I think cloud applications are incredibly reliable. And in many cases, cloud applications are more reliable than their on-premise counterparts. No doubt, thousands of PCs fail across the world every day. But we only here about a few cloud outages per month.

Still, back to my original question: Are customers and MSPs helpless when a big public cloud like Office 365 goes dark or suffers a network issue? I realize companies like Level Platforms allow you to monitor Microsoft's cloud. And other companies like Nimsoft allow you to monitor complex cloud datacenters running Vblock.

But what can you possibly do when a big partner like Microsoft Office 365 fails? Are there any potential workarounds to help keep your customers productive until Microsoft brings its cloud systems back online?

Those questions -- and more -- came to mind today when I heard some North America customers were experiencing major Office 365 and Dynamics CRM Online issues. During the five-hour outage were partners essentially helpless as their customers went dark? Do MSPs have any recourse?

Long-term, I know technologies like CA's WatchMouse could help MSPs monitor and enforce cloud SLAs (service level agreements). But right here, right now I wonder if partners felt helpless.

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