Reddit, a popular online discussion site, has a running joke: people are often asked whether they would rather fight a horse-sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses. This question has surprising relevance to Office 365, because while Microsoft customers often worry about the threat of a widespread large outage (the horse-sized duck), they’re actually getting beat up by a larger number of smaller, less damaging but still annoying outages (the herd of duck-sized horses). There are a couple of deeper issues here that warrant a closer look to understand what the real risk is, and what you can do about it.
As reported earlier, Office 365 was recently hit with a widespread issue. According to the case details that Microsoft posted to its service dashboard, the problems started around 6:15 PM (EST) on July 15 and were solved by July 15 at 9:30 PM (EST).
That is a little over three hours that customers were experiencing all sorts of issues! Even though it's unlikely this outage alone will affect Microsoft's 99.9% uptime on a yearly basis, the impact and inconvenience on the customer base is big. While Microsoft does a terrific job running Office 365, this wasn't the first outage, and it likely won’t be the last, either.