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What are the problems here? | 118 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Oops we did it again.
Authored by: symbolset on Saturday, February 23 2013 @ 07:20 AM EST

As we watch this event unfold Azure storage is down for 12 hours and so all the sites that use Azure for things that require any level of security. But it's the upstroke of a marketing blitz designed to position Azure as "enterprise class" especially as regards to cloud storage so there are a lot of regular reporting services that are going to be carrying not this story, but the "Azure storage is ready for enterprise" story with canned press releases only barely varying from each other. Over the next few days the least capable mouthpieces for Microsoft will reveal themselves as utterly incompetent. The usual accounts will be granting the usual praise in the comments as well. That's a beautiful thing because it identifies the "not reliable" sources of information.

The root cause of the failure is that they simply forgot to renew their encryption certificate for secure communications. That is not going to inspire confidence in their "enterprise class" abilities. They weren't hacked. Some hardware didn't fail in an amazing new way. There wasn't a blackout, earthquake, flood, fire, volcano or storm. It turns out there was only one guy responsible for making sure this minor task got done - and he probably forgot to do it before going on sabbatical or leave or something. His sticky note fell off and got lost behind the desk. He didn't have a backup. And this lack on his part and a systemic lack of oversight of system critical and quite regularly scheduled upkeep allowed their entire global cloud storage service to go down - including all of the services for themselves and their clients - worldwide. It does not inspire confidence.

This immediately follows a week-long outage of their cloud database service, and just over a year since a quite long outage of management services over their inability to deal with leap years for all of a leap day, as if that was an unexpected event. It will be interesting to see what they claim for uptime figures in the coming year. Any reasonable enterprise is going to call that "one nine" of uptime. That's not enterprise class. It's not business class. It's not even consumer class: would you count on your car if it wouldn't do what you needed it to do at least 99 times out of a hundred ("two nines")? Your cell phone even?

Let's not even mention the Microsoft Danger data loss debacle where after over a month Microsoft admitted that data for millions of their own cloud customers was lost forever, and that entire cloud platform abandoned because a key executive decided to not wait for a backup to complete before upgrading the single SAN the cloud data was backed by.

Notably though outages on Microsoft properties are remarkably few this time. XBox live seems to be the biggest one. They must not be using their own cloud a lot for some reason. Maybe their in-house talent knows more about what's going on here than their salesforce does and their evangelists do.

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

You gotta love the understatement...
Authored by: artp on Saturday, February 23 2013 @ 11:58 AM EST

It is the opinion of The Register that to have a core service fail in every data center across the world simultaneously is an extremely bad thing to happen to a cloud provider.

Couldn't have said it better myself.

---
Userfriendly on WGA server outage:
When you're chained to an oar you don't think you should go down when the galley sinks ?

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

What are the problems here?
Authored by: albert on Saturday, February 23 2013 @ 01:03 PM EST
Is it management incompetence?
Is it technical incompetence?

Renewing an SSL certificate sounds like something a secretary, or a janitor,
could do. Perhaps this wouldn't have happened if a secretary was tasked with
it.

I'm sure there are _some_ technically competent people at MS, but I do still
wonder about the H1Bs. Are MS getting what they pay for?

I think things like this happen because of the workplace culture, about folks
'putting in their time', but not really motivated. If you feel like a drone,
you start to act like one.

It indicates to me that MS just really isn't ready for the enterprise cloud
business. To allow a single point of failure to exist in a mission-critical
system is inexcusable.

I used to work for a very large multinational. Some of our customers had
businesses that could lose > $20,000* per minute of downtime. Fortunately,
we had great products and a dedicated staff. That's the only way to do
business.

You need great hardware, great software, and dedicated people. I think MS has
one out of three.

* adjusted to 2013 US dollars.

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

Welcome to DRM technology
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, February 23 2013 @ 09:01 PM EST

The administrator of the certificates makes an oops and everything shuts down.

Kinda leaves you wondering what'll happen to all those computers that end up with UEFI and Microsoft makes a certificate ooops.

RAS

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

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