A Microsoft Azure outage that began on servers in the central US has caused shockwaves across the rest of the globe, leaving many European customers without services this afternoon.
The outage seems to have begun at midday and lasted around four hours. Customers took to Twitter to complain:
Azure SQL DBs not working in West Europe (again)— Filip W (@filip_woj) September 15, 2016
At its height, the fault affected API management, web apps, Service Bus and SQL database services in the central US region, and Azure DNS globally.
Microsoft's Azure status page has just now reported that SQL database is still affected in the central US region.
As is often the case, however, customers noticed confusion with Microsoft's messages, as Azure Twitter feeds and status pages seemed to disagree on the speed of recovery.
Azure outages are now fairly common. Several 'partial service disruptions' in 2015 caused problems as customers were unable to log-in to Office 365 because its front-end log-in service is controlled directly by Azure.
Azure Twitter: "We know there's an issue, we're working on it"— Mr 'Rob' Ashton (@RobAshton) September 15, 2016
Azure status page: "Everything is fine, green across board, yay!"
David Hood, cyber resiliency expert at security firm Mimecast, said: "Growing dependence on pure Microsoft cloud ecosystems could see events such as today's Azure outage have a dramatic impact on business productivity.
"The question to ask ourselves in a cloud-first world is what is our cyber resilience strategy for when Azure, Office 365 or another critical cloud service goes offline?
"Even in the world of the cloud, organisations need a continuity plan to keep operating when their primary provider becomes unavailable."
In other words, the situation is only going to get worse.
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