Wow, you don’t really hear this all too often. Hotmail and Outlook.com along with a couple of other Microsoft online services suffered a major outage yesterday.
The downtime blocked users around the world from accessing their accounts for approximately 16 hours, before Microsoft nailed the problem.
Now the company has explained the details of the March 12 outage in a blog post on its Office website, and it appears the problem was caused by a datacenter overheating that in turn triggered the safeguard mechanisms on the servers to kick into place and disconnect several systems from the network:
“These safeguards prevented access to mailboxes housed on these servers and also prevented any other pieces of our infrastructure to automatically failover and allow continued access. This area of the datacenter houses parts of the Hotmail.com, Outlook.com, and SkyDrive infrastructure, and so some people trying to access those services were impacted.”
Well, there you have it.
While anything can potentially go wrong in a datacenter of this size and scale, most outages like these are usually the results of a software glitch or in rare cases a hardware malfunction. Still, overheating is always a threat as was the case in this instance.
Microsoft has not revealed the number of accounts that were affected by this latest outage, but the company did say that the service was restored by 5:30 AM.
As of this writing, both Hotmail and Outlook.com are working quite fine.