Network driver issue shaves 12 more hours off Microsoft’s ‘365’ infrastructure, and yeah, it was Exchange Online again

Microsoft’s cloudy email service, Exchange Online, decided to have an early night last night, and then enjoyed a lie-in this morning.

Traditionally a night for fireworks, 5 November saw some sort of detonation within the Microsoft 365 infrastructure in the form of a borked update or, as the company delicately put it: “an issue wherein some users may be unable to access their mailboxes through Exchange Online via all connection methods.”

There was good news, however, as just over an hour later Microsoft confessed that a recent service update was “causing impact to mailbox access via Exchange Online” but a fix was being prepared that would sort it all out.

The joy was short-lived. Having realised that a network driver issue was to blame, the company then admitted the fix “was taking longer than anticipated.”

Six hours after its initial notification of trouble in the cloud, Microsoft also began looking at alternative options for “faster relief.”

Finally, nearly eight hours after the bad news first dropped from its social media orifice, the software giant claimed a fix was being rolled out. A further four hours was needed before Microsoft trumpeted that everything was up and running once again.

The Register asked Microsoft how widespread the issue was, why its online email service is so fragile these days, and how its change control works. After all, the company that inflicts Windows 10 updates on unsuspecting users should have plenty of experience with an urgent need for a rollback or two. It has yet to provide an explanation.

The problem does indeed seem to have affected a subset of users around the globe, including a UK local authority where an anonymous staffer told The Register that access to email had been lost because “Microsoft rolled out a service update that’s now preventing access through Exchange Online.”

Others dived into the fragrant pit of Twitter to make their frustration known.

A glance at social media shows a substantial number of users struggled with the outage, with some making unkind comparisons with arch-rival Gmail and others expressing bewilderment that a driver could cause such an impact. Surely it was tested before hitting production systems?

Oh you sweet summer child. Have you forgotten Windows 10 1809 so soon? We await anxiously the arrival of the rebrandogun. Microsoft 352, anyone? ®

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