Azure services down again

Among those affected are Cloud Services, Virtual Machines and Websites

Microsoft's Azure Cloud computing platform, wobbly for more than a week, is again experiencing outages and interruptions that are impacting multiple products in the US and abroad.

Monday's problems started at close to 2 pm US Eastern Time and at their peak affected about 10 services, including Cloud Services, Virtual Machines and Websites, according to information posted by Microsoft on its Azure status website.

At about 4:15 p.m. ET Microsoft had started to remedy some of the outages and interruptions, but still had a ways to go to get the situation under control and bring the platform to a normal status.

For example, at that time Cloud Services, where customers build, deploy and manage apps on the Azure cloud, was still experiencing performance and availability problems in four out of the six U.S. regions of the platform, in Japan and in Brazil. Simultaneously, Virtual Machines, which lets customers deploy Windows Server, Linux, or third-party software images to Azure, was struggling even more broadly in geographic terms, up only in two of the Azure global regions.

The issues Monday follow a string of outages and service disruptions that also affected several Azure products and impacted customers in various parts of the world all of last week and in the latter part of the prior week.

The problems are very bad news for Microsoft, which has identified the Azure infrastructure- and platform-as-a-service cloud tools as key to its current and future success. Azure competes against very strong PaaS and IaaS vendors, including Amazon's AWS division, Google, IBM and others.

Azure, along with software-as-a-service (SaaS) products like Office 365 and Dynamics CRM Online, is emblematic of Microsoft's urgent and dramatic shift from being a provider of software that customers install on their premises to a seller of subscription-based cloud services and applications hosted on its data centers.

But for cloud computing services to succeed with enterprise customers, they have to be reliable and their outages and interruptions have to be kept to a minimum. Otherwise, CIOs and business managers lose confidence in the cloud provider.

Microsoft didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

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