As of October 7, Microsoft experienced three outages within a ten-day period, causing Office 365 to go down. It started with a major, six-hour-long Office 365 outage at the end of September. The next outage impacted Outlook and Exchange users on October 1st.
Most recently, on October 7, users began reporting issues accessing their admin center dashboards, and were later unable to access Microsoft 365 services, including Teams, Exchange Online, Outlook.com, SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business. At that time, the Azure status page also posted warnings of potential issues with Azure Active Directory and Azure Networking services.
Some feel that these outages could be related to a DevOps issue. Because Microsoft has been rapidly pushing out software updates and rolling out teams, there may be configuration issues when code is deployed. While Microsoft declined to comment on whether the outages were due to a DevOps issue, it did provide an explanation for the outages.
The Microsoft 365 team said a "network infrastructure change" may have caused the issues. That same team also said that it has now added additional capacity to handle "an observed spike in admin center traffic caused by actions to mitigate a prior incident with similar impact."
These issues also follow a recent Azure AD issue which was reportedly caused by the faulty testing of a change, coupled with a rollback failure. According to Microsoft, the update was released prematurely and wasn’t subjected to sufficient testing, which usually involves progressing through five "rings" before being released to allow for trial of any changes or upgrades.
In a statement, the company said, “No cloud vendor is immune to downtime. Our number one priority is to get to resolution as quickly as possible and ensure our customers stay updated along the way, as was the case here. We continuously invest in the resilience of our platform and focus on learning from these incidents to ultimately reduce the impact of inevitable outages.”
With increased dependence on these tools, particularly as companies continue to largely work remotely, Microsoft may need to further address these issues to ensure its products and services remain available to users.