Microsoft Corp. (MSFT)’s Azure cloud-computing service, a critical part of Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella’s plan to remake the software company, experienced a major global outage yesterday that lasted for around five hours.
Azure, which lets businesses access computing resources and run programs via the Internet, was restored after a disruption that affected at least six major components in multiple data centers, the world’s biggest software maker said on its website.
Microsoft’s cloud-computing service, which competes against rival businesses from Google Inc. and Amazon.com Inc., also experienced some outages in August. It’s unusual for cloud-service suspensions to affect more than one data center at once, and this is Microsoft’s most severe Azure interruption since some storage tools went offline in February 2013.
Azure is a key part of the “cloud OS,” a term Nadella uses to describe the different technologies Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft can bring together to give customers a consistent experience across different devices. The cloud division, which contains Azure, has an implied annual revenue of about $4.4 billion, Amy Hood, Microsoft’s chief financial officer, told Bloomberg in July.
Nadella, who built up Microsoft’s cloud-computing business before he was promoted to CEO in February, seldom misses an opportunity to promote Azure, which is part of his “Mobile First, Cloud First” strategy. Nadella’s latest plug for Azure was earlier this month, when he participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge and doused himself with ice-cold water to raise awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. He challenged the CEOs of Amazon and Google to do the same.
“Oh man, oh my god that is cold!,” Nadella said after being drenched with water. “Now let me challenge Jeff Bezos and Larry Page. From personal experience, I can say it’s better to have your head in the clouds than in a bucket of ice.”
Azure has enabled Microsoft to partner with other companies. Last year, Microsoft and Oracle Corp. said businesses would be able to buy middleware and database products from Oracle on the Azure cloud. In May, Microsoft announced a similar agreement with Salesforce.com Inc.