Microsoft suggested that a Windows Live outage on Feb. 16, which prevented unknown users from accessing their Windows Live accounts in addition to Hotmail and Xbox Live, was due to a single server failure. While the root problem was identified quickly, Microsoft apparently needed time to resolve what it called the "logjam" due to increased load on the remaining servers. As it seeks to compete against Google and other cloud-based service providers, Microsoft is porting an increasing number of services, notably stripped-down versions of its Office 2010 applications, onto Windows Live.
A downed server apparently caused the Windows Live outage on Feb. 16, which
denied a small number of subscribers access to their Hotmail and Xbox Live
"We had an issue with the Windows Live ID service between 9 and 10AM PST
this morning," Arthur De Haan, a member of the Windows Live team, wrote
in a Feb. 16 posting on the Inside Windows Live blog
. "Due to the
failure of one server, Windows Live ID logins were failing for some customers,
and this increased the load on our remaining servers."
De Haan claimed that the "problematic" server was then taken
offline in favor of a new one, and that the root cause of the issue was
identified and corrected in less than an hour. However, "it took a while
to resolve the logjam that had built up in the meantime, and to redistribute
the load to normal levels." While the exact number of users who were denied
access to their Windows Live services was unknown, Microsoft insists the number
was relatively small.
The company was, inevitably, "sorry for the inconvenience."
Microsoft's Live platform is becoming an integral part of the company's
overall strategy as it makes increased initiatives into the cloud space, while
Hotmail remains second behind Yahoo in number of U.S.
a September 2009 interview with eWEEK
, Ryan Gavin, director of platform
strategy at Microsoft, suggested that Hotmail boasts advantages over Gmail,
particularly in the enterprise space.
"With respect to Hotmail, we're very clearly focused on that home to
work efficiency, that young busy professional or busy mom, nailing that best
inbox for that future experience," Gavin said at the time. "It's not
clear right now where Gmail's prime focus is. With Google Labs, there [are] a
lot of features that get rolled out regularly that are somewhat unfocused, and
it's not clear who should be applying what when."
has been targeting both Microsoft and IBM in the cloud-collaboration space
in July 2009, the search engine giant boosted its competitive profile for SMBs
(small to medium-sized businesses) and the enterprise by removing its core
Google Apps, including Gmail, from beta.
In turn, Microsoft
is escalating against Google and other cloud-based productivity platforms
by offering stripped-down versions of Word, OneNote, Excel and PowerPoint to
Microsoft Live subscribers, while still holding back many of those
applications' higher-level functions for those users who purchase the full
version of Office 2010. But as Google already knows, thanks to a series of
minor outages throughout 2009, posting your users' applications to the cloud
can translate into periodic downtimes due to server outages and other problems.