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Human error root cause of November Microsoft Azure outage

Joab Jackson | Dec. 18, 2014
The company is hoping that recent updates that automate formerly manual processes will help prevent similar outages in the future.

"With the tooling updates the policy is now enforced by the deployment platform itself," Zander wrote.

In the outage of February 2013, a failure in manual protocols was also to blame. Parts of the system went offline due to lapsed security certificates. The process to apply the updated certificates to Azure machines was scheduled with a larger routine update, a decision made by engineers who were unaware that the new certificates would not be delivered until after the old ones had expired.

After investigating the November incident, Microsoft wanted to share its "root cause analysis" with customers, Zander wrote, in hopes that users would find the act of transparency to be proof of Microsoft's commitment to providing quality cloud hosting services.

Overall, the act of posting of the root cause analysis seemed to please at least some Azure users and the IT community as well, despite the additional negative publicity it could bring Microsoft.

"I've seen several companies where analysis like this would be for management only. I guess it's just human nature to want to sweep mistakes and accidents under the rug, but it does also speak volumes about the culture in such companies. Kudos to Microsoft and every other big player that communicates these things," wrote a user on the Hacker News aggregation site.

 

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