Anuradha ShettyAug 19, 2013 10:40:15 IST
Microsoft claims to have fixed Outlook.com, which had remained inaccessible for the past week. In a brief note on its Service Status dashboard, Microsoft apologised to its users for the outage, and said that it has made changes to make the service more resilient.
The outage, Microsoft confirms, was as a result of a failure in a caching service that interfaces with devices using Exchange ActiveSync (including most smartphones). Owing to the failure, these devices received an error and continued to attempt to connect to the service. Microsoft’s services could not contain the massive traffic that ensued thereafter, inconveniencing some customers who were unable to access their email accounts and share SkyDrive files via email.
Outlook.com is back up
According to The Next Web, the issue first cropped up on the morning of August 14 (EST). At the outset they say, many users complained about being unable to access Outlook.com, SkyDrive, and People services. While other services regained normalcy soon enough, access to Outlook.com remained broken for long.
To stabilise their overall service, Microsoft temporarily cut access via Exchange ActiveSync. “This allowed us to restore access to Outlook.com via the web and restore the sharing features of SkyDrive. These parts of the service were fully stabilized within a few hours of the initial incident,” the post explains. What they were left with was a good deal of backlog of Exchange ActiveSync server requests that kept piling on as they continued to stabilise access. To avoid the traffic from flooding in the second time, they decided to restore access to ActiveSync slowly, causing some customers to be affected for longer.
To avoid such incidents in the future, Microsoft has made two key changes to its systems. It has worked to increase network bandwidth in the affected part of the system, and also changed the way errors are handled on devices using Exchange ActiveSync.
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