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Microsoft: Office 365 outages 'will' happen

Installs cash-back scheme to counter crappiness

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Microsoft is confident that Office 365 – its second generation cloud service – will prove more resilient than the Business Productivity Online Suite but it cannot guarantee uptime.

BPOS gained a pretty bad rep due to a series of outages, the most recent coming just last week, and users were praying that the new cloud iteration launched on 28 June would banish those negative experiences to the past.

Peter King, Microsoft UK SME cloud lead, told The Reg that the growing pains MS went through with BPOS would diminish with Office 365. "As anyone matures in delivering a service they get better at doing it," King said.

"Office 365 with 2010 technology was designed from the ground up to be multi-tenanted – cloud, on-premise and hosted environments – and by the nature that it is designed to work in those environments it will be more resilient," he said.

"However, I have to say outages are going to happen, but what is important is how you deal with them and the SLAs that you put round it. If it happens, we have SLAs that give money back [to customers] if we have an outage," King added.

Under the service level agreement, customers receive 25 per cent off their monthly payment if uptime falls below 99.9 per cent to 99 per cent, half of the sum back if it falls below 99 per cent and a complete refund for anything under 95 per cent.

King said clearly Microsoft would prefer it had no issues but claimed: "the processes in place are robust and financially backed, if you look across cloud providers in the market that is unique."

This SLA was locked into BPOS too, but didn't appease customers left floundering in the midst of downtime hell.

King reckoned Microsoft could guarantee 100 per cent uptime but questioned if customers would want to pay the price per month for that service: "the research we've done suggests no," he added. ®

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