Microsoft’s recent Azure outage highlights importance of service continuity and the challenges of relying on connectivity.

As many businesses look to the cloud for improve sharing, storage, data and security we are reminded that technical issues can affect the performance and continuity of services as much as trust.

This week fault with Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing platform disrupted websites and online services across North America, Europe and Asia. Many of Microsoft’s own products, including Office 365 and Xbox Live, were also caught up in the outage.

Microsoft has seen its cloud service market share rise. According to recent Synergy Research, in the second quarter of this year Microsoft grew at 164%, compared to IBM at 86%, AWS at 49% and Google 47%. As competition increases there is very little room for high profile outages.

Writing on the Microsoft Azure blog Jason Zander, CVP, Microsoft Azure Team, said “an issue was discovered that resulted in reduced capacity across services utilising Azure Storage, including Virtual Machines, Visual Studio Online, Websites, Search and other Microsoft services.”

During an upgrade rollout a previously undetected issue arose which prevented the front end from taking traffic. This in turn caused other services built on top to experience issues.

“We will continue to investigate what led to this event and will drive the needed improvements to avoid similar situations in the future,” he added.

This latest outage is not the only one, nor the last, to affect businesses. In May this year Adobe Creative Cloud customers also experienced a disruption of services. With some 1.84 million paid Creative Cloud subscriptions the outage was widely discussed across social eventually making headlines in press.

Apologising Jason Zander said, “our customers put their trust in us and we take that very seriously.” Trust and reliable service provision are essential to cloud adoption.

Security has often been cited as the main factor in cloud adoption and while its importance is deserved continuity should not be ignored. As the uptake in cloud services continues providers will have to prioritise reliability.

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