MSDN Subscriber benefits down

As I pen these words I’m waiting for the Microsoft MSDN Subscriptions site to come back online. As of November 3, 2010 at 10:13 a.m. Pacific, the site that serves up subscribe downloads, retail purchase and renewals, product key access and other MSDN entitlements was “Is experiencing emergency downtime.” Volume

As I pen these words I’m waiting for the Microsoft MSDN Subscriptions site to come back online. As of November 3, 2010 at 10:13 a.m. Pacific, the site that serves up subscribe downloads, retail purchase and renewals, product key access and other MSDN entitlements was “Is experiencing emergency downtime.” Volume license and retail customers were the affected customers.

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I have a complimentary MSDN license to get ready access to Microsoft software that I use in tests at eWEEK Labs. In the many years that I’ve used the MSDN service, I’ve never seen this kind of service interruption. Of course, now I’m wondering all sorts of things. Like, what does it take for a major Microsoft that serves “developers, developers, developers” to take an emergency shutdown? The answer to that question could lead me in many directions. For starters, was there a single point of failure, and if so, how did that make it into the design? And, since the subscriptions are pre-paid, what’s the “make good” for service unavailability? (At 12:30PM Pacific, the service appears to be back online.)

“Appears” seems to be the right word. As you can see from this screenshot, product keys--without which Office 2010 will not install--still can’t be retrieved.

As a consumer of this service, the ongoing lack of access is frustrating and interrupting work. (At 12:43 the licensing subsystem came back online.)

After I get my work project back on track, I’m going to spend some time figuring out my own backup plan so that I can survive this kind of disconnection in the future.