Microsoft Azure storage ends the week with a bang — and not in a good way

Photo courtesy of Flickr user getinet.

That’s life, as Frank Sinatra once sang. Microsoft Azure Storage was named the world’s best public cloud storage service on Tuesday, then crashes and burns on Friday.

Here are a few of the posts to the Windows Azure status dashboard: 

22-Feb-13  ·  9:45 PM UTC

Access Control v2, Service Bus, WindowsAzure.com and WebSites services are impacted by Storage service degradation worldwide. We are actively validating the recovery steps to resolve it as soon as possible. Further updates will be published to keep you apprised of the situation. We apologize for any inconvenience this causes our customers.

22-Feb-13  ·  8:44 PM UTC

We are experiencing an issue with Storage Worldwide and this is impacting all dependent services. We are actively investigating this issue and working to resolve it as soon as possible. Further updates will be published to keep you apprised of the situation. We apologize for any inconvenience this causes our customers.

azure storage outageFolks on Twitter and elsewhere attributed the snafu to the lack of a new SSL certificate. If such a certificate does expire, users cannot authenticate against their various services: No authentication, no access.

Update: As of Saturday morning, this message was posted to the Azure status page — there was no timestamp so it is unclear when it posted. All of the storage areas affected on Friday still showed “service interruption” status.

On Friday, February 22 at 12:44 PM PST, Storage experienced a worldwide outage impacting HTTPS traffic due to an expired SSL certificate. This did not impact HTTP traffic. We have executed repair steps to update SSL certificate on the impacted clusters and have recovered to over 99% availability across all sub-regions. We will continue monitoring the health of the Storage service and SSL traffic for the next 24 hrs. Customers may experience intermittent failures during this period. We apologize for any inconvenience this causes our customers

I’ve asked Microsoft for comment and will update this when they do. Whatever the cause of the problem, it’s been an up-and-down week for Windows Azure. On Tuesday, Nasuni, a company that manages cloud storage for business customers, said Windows Azure storage outperformed all four other cloud services — including Amazon S3 —  in rigorous performance testing. Despite Azure’s performance, Nasuni said it would stick to S3 as its primary supplier, citing its maturity. Looks like that may have been the right call.

Well, as Sinatra sang: “Riding high in April, shot down in May.” Web time just accelerates the process.

This story was updated February 23 at 6:25 a.m. PDT with a newer statement from the Microsoft Azure status page.

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