Outage hits hosted Exchange customers

Users of Microsoft's hosted e-mail service say they've had trouble using the service this week

Delays hitting Microsoft's hosted e-mail service have been mitigated, the company said, following more than 100 posts on a forum about mail slowdowns and outages since Tuesday.

The company reported midday Thursday on its Twitter account that the mail delays had been mitigated and that message queues are draining. It suggested that customers watch the dashboard for updates. The dashboard is available to customers who must log in to see it.

On an online forum, customers primarily in North America but some with users worldwide, say that mail has been down. Some complained of having multiple problems over the past couple of weeks and struggling to reach anyone at Microsoft for support.

Several said this incident and others have made them regret moving to hosted e-mail, with some saying they're planning to move the function back in house. "I'm sorry to say that I regret everything I ever said about how this would be better," one customer named Kevin Baker wrote about his experience transitioning to hosted Exchange. "Email is the one thing that everyone from the guys in the factory up to the CEO uses. It has a bigger impact on IT's reputation with end-users and business leaders than anything else, and these constant service outages and 'impairments' have got all of us in IT panicked. We're actively looking at migration paths back to in-house email."

The comments also indicate how much some businesses have staked on such cloud services. "I just assured my clients that this was the best thing for them. I look like an idiot," wrote one customer.

These problems follow a high-profile issue that took down Amazon's EC2 service recently and the incidents are raising questions about the reliability of cloud services.

Microsoft did not reply to a request for further information about the outage.

Nancy Gohring covers mobile phones and cloud computing for The IDG News Service. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @idgnancy. Nancy's e-mail address is Nancy_Gohring@idg.com

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