The worse just happened. Again. Just as the week was about to end, Windows Azure went down worldwide. The service was hit with an outage on Friday, February 22.
Apparently, an SSL certificate expired and took the service down with it. Imagine that! The episode has shades of the when Microsoft let the Hotmail.co.uk domain expire, which was immediately purchased by an individual.
The outage affected HTTPS traffic from affecting storage, though the standard HTTP traffic remained fine. Microsoft confirmed the issue on its website saying that they were dashing to fix the issue:
“Storage is currently experiencing a worldwide outage impacting HTTPS operations (SSL traffic) due to an expired certificate. HTTP traffic is not impacted. We are validating the recovery options before implementing them. Further updates will be published to keep you apprised of the situation. We apologize for any inconvenience this causes our customers.”
Oh well, happens to the best, as they say!
Luckily the problem was fixed the very next day. Redmond confirmed that the service was 99 percent available early Saturday, and went completely online by 8 pm Pacific Standard Time.
Understandably, human mistakes like this happen, but the big question that arises is why Microsoft could not have automated something like this. Even the most basic of software come with such abilities, but this is a massive cloud endeavor with billion dollar investment we are speaking of.
Nevertheless, outages like these are not adding one bit to the overall credibility and reliability of cloud. This one was not terribly severe, but hopefully Microsoft and other cloud providers learn some valuable lessons from this incident.