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Office 365: Suffer 18 Days' Outage, Still Pay Half Price

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the you-ungrateful-whelps dept.

Cloud 137

rtfa-troll writes "Microsoft is preparing its customers for plenty of outage time according to the Register, with a scheme for Office 365 which will give customers some money back. The offer seems to be Microsoft's answer to Google offering a '100% uptime guarantee' (they even pay for maintenance time) The most interesting thing about the scheme is that you can have a one and a half day outage every month (or is that 18 solid days a year?) and still expect to pay half price. I wonder Microsoft have put the Sidekick management in charge of their customer's data. Looking forward my expense forms have getting eaten by the cloud so I have to fill them in again."

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This is the reliability of Cloud Hosting? (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626246)

That's awful, a plain-jane Windows server manages way better uptime than that!

Re:This is the reliability of Cloud Hosting? (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626484)

Until such time as a major component fails, that is. The point of cloud hosting is that the system is designed so that's a non-issue.

(Of course, that assumes your provider has actually designed their systems to account for component failure. I can't count the number of companies that don't appear to have done so.)

Re:This is the reliability of Cloud Hosting? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36626720)

Then 4 hours later dell gets you the replacement part. Not 18 days later.

Re:This is the reliability of Cloud Hosting? (2)

PickyH3D (680158) | more than 3 years ago | (#36627538)

The 18 days comes from the product of 1.5 days/month * 12 months.

I think it's a bit high regardless (1.5 days could easily fall on a weekend that I might need or even want to work), but it's misleading (at best) to suggest it's 18 days of straight offline time.

Even worse, no where in the article does it actually state 1.5 days. Anywhere. I must be new here, but here is the relevant quote from the article:

Under the service level agreement, customers receive 25 per cent off their monthly payment if uptime falls below 99.9 per cent to 99 per cent, half of the sum back if it falls below 99 per cent and a complete refund for anything under 95 per cent.

King said clearly Microsoft would prefer it had no issues but claimed: "the processes in place are robust and financially backed, if you look across cloud providers in the market that is unique."

In other words, it's just like Google's service, only they don't claim 100% uptime, which is unlikely to be realistic (even Gmail has failed on numerous occasions). And, they pay you if it falls below 99.9% uptime. Considering that you still get the benefit of local deployment, as well as the cloud, I'd say that's actually a good deal.

Not one I have any interest in paying for, but it sounds a lot better than Google's unlikely claim.

Re:This is the reliability of Cloud Hosting? (0)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626788)

Well let's say this shitty Windows box boots from a single hard drive and it fails once per week (maybe someone ran scandisk on a drive with large files and the dumb thing filled up the RAM and then went into page file thrashing because that's what scandisk does with large files for some reason, even in Win7!!!).

Let's say it takes 10 minutes to swap the drive and 2 hours to restore it from a backup. That's 2 hours and 10 minutes of downtime per week, or 8 hours and 40 minutes of downtime per month. Still less than this cloud service.

Re:This is the reliability of Cloud Hosting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36626750)

Welcome back to 1970's era Glass House computing!

Re:This is the reliability of Cloud Hosting? (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#36627356)

Are we talking about a total outage or are we talking about a percentage of users left unable to get their data?

I ask because I imagine it's a huge technical challenge to have constantly editable data synchronized across all the machines in the 'cloud'. (I will be up front and admit that I don't know a lot about how something like this works.)

Re:This is the reliability of Cloud Hosting? (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#36627470)

The only problem you might have is two people trying to edit the same document at once, but you'll have that no matter what technology you're using. The storage on this should work like shared storage on a giant RAID5/6 array so that many servers have no problem accessing the same data and some hardware can go down without causing any trouble.

Re:This is the reliability of Cloud Hosting? (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#36627630)

Well that's great if all the servers are in the same location. But what about cases where you've got some servers in LA and others in NYC, like Amazon and I think Google does, how do they sync up?

Re:This is the reliability of Cloud Hosting? (1)

PoopMonkey (932637) | more than 3 years ago | (#36628190)

There is a series of tubes connecting them all. Only these tubes use gerbils to carry the bits across.

Re:This is the reliability of Cloud Hosting? (1)

chentiangemalc (1710624) | more than 3 years ago | (#36627434)

Note this is the service level plan, which does not mean this is what actually happens.In any case google's offer at 100% uptime sounds great but they've also failed to deliver on that with several long outages.

Typo in title (2)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626248)

I don't think it is called Office 356.

Re:Typo in title (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36626264)

Yeah, if you're going to make that joke it should be Office 347.

Re:Typo in title (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626270)

365-356=9=half of the maximum expected downtime. Makes sense.

Re:Typo in title (2, Insightful)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626450)

So it's advertised as Office 365, you're paying for Office 356, but getting Office 347.

Yeah, that sounds like Microsoft.

Re:Typo in title (1)

Lifyre (960576) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626280)

I thought it was a clever attempt at humor... then I realized that timothy would have to be really bad at math for that...

Re:Typo in title (1)

elsurexiste (1758620) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626542)

Yeah! I thought the same. "Ha! They made a funny! Wait, something's wrong... oh, it's just a typo."

Re:Typo in title (1)

erotic_pie (796522) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626292)

Yeah somebody got the math wrong, after you take out the 18 days it should be Office 347.

Re:Typo in title (2)

Niris (1443675) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626322)

But you're not concerned with the grammatically incorrect 'I wonder Microsoft have put the Sidekick management in charge of their customer's data"?

Re:Typo in title (1)

Niris (1443675) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626338)

Woosh. Just read all the 347 stuff. Still have a headache from that sentence though.

Re:Typo in title (1)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626456)

that's only one of the myriad errors in grammar in that summary.

Re:Typo in title (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626482)

the month to month SLA part is entirely comedy though. If they average less than 99% uptime over a year, even if it's one particular bad month, people are going to drop this service instantly at that point. A consumer may be stupid enough to forget month to month, but a business won't.

Re:Typo in title (1)

memyselfandeye (1849868) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626726)

You discount the money hole syndrome. I a business dig's itself into a hole, you the only way to fill it back up it to pour more money into it.

Seriously though, there are a lot of executives happily looking forward to the day they get to fire that IT guy who keeps making him feel bad. I bet they could call it Office 256 and plenty of businesses would buy it.

Re:Typo in title (1)

aix tom (902140) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626818)

I wonder how many executives will curse the day they fired a "IT guy that made them feel bad" and replaced him with a "Cloud that ignores them" in case of problems.

Re:Typo in title (1)

N!k0N (883435) | more than 3 years ago | (#36627002)

none. They'll find a reason to curse the IT guy for allowing them to go to the cloud in the first place... regardless of the fact he was vehemently against said idea and was fired for saying as such.

Re:Typo in title (1)

memyselfandeye (1849868) | more than 3 years ago | (#36627008)

Probably all of them... it will just make it that much more fun to watch.

"Patty, get Tom on the line. My Word isn't working and I can't check my e-mail."
"Sorry Mr. Jamison, you fired Tom and replaced him with a BORG"

Re:Typo in title (1)

MichaelKristopeit422 (2018884) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626656)

I don't think it is called Office 356.

that's you're only problem with this ignorant post? you think that "Looking forward my expense forms have getting eaten by the cloud so I have to fill them in again." is a sentence?

slashdot = stagnated.

Office 356, huh? (0)

NYMeatball (1635689) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626260)

Someone trying to make a clever joke and forgot that 365 - 18 is actually 347?

Re:Office 356, huh? (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626326)

It was calculated by the guy who did the Windows copy dialogue, so it fluctuated by 9 days.

Re:Office 356, huh? (2)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626904)

No it was calculated on a Pentium processor.

Re:Office 356, huh? (1)

froggymana (1896008) | more than 3 years ago | (#36627180)

I thought it might have been calculated on an old pentium

Math? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36626320)

at 99% uptime, isn't that .3 days downtime/month, or 3.6 days/year?

Re:Math? (1)

Ruke (857276) | more than 3 years ago | (#36627298)

At 99% uptime, you're getting 1/4 of your monthly charge back. At 95% uptime (18.25 days), you're getting 1/2 back.

Re:Math? (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 3 years ago | (#36627318)

hey, that's still like one 9 reliability!

A half month a year?! (1)

liquidweaver (1988660) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626358)

Of outage? Looking closely at google apps...

Re:A half month a year?! (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36627242)

Microsoft is promising to be twice as good as Google Apps. Seriously, check it out:

http://www.google.com/apps/intl/en/terms/sla.html

For a service level of:

>99.9% - Microsoft: full price, Google: full price
>99.0% - Microsoft: 25% off, Google: 10% off
>95.0% - Microsoft: 50% off, Google: 25% off
<95.0% - Microsoft: 100% off, Google: 50% off

Re:A half month a year?! (1)

kenh (9056) | more than 3 years ago | (#36628016)

Google Apps SLA is almost EXACTLY the same - 50% credit (15 days) for 95% uptime in a month - guess how long an outage you can have with 95% uptime? Just about a day and a half...

Re:A half month a year?! (1)

kenh (9056) | more than 3 years ago | (#36628076)

Sorry, forgot to add the link: http://www.google.com/apps/intl/en/terms/sla.html [google.com]

And a 95% uptime is a seven day (25%) refund, you have to go under 95% uptime to get the 50% refund, the biggest refund Google offers... Even if you have a 0.1% uptime!

Office 356? (1)

Evro (18923) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626412)

I thought it was supposed to be a joke, but 365-18 = 347, so I guess not. If the story was titled "Office 347," well, that'd be pretty witty.

Re:Office 356? (2)

cababunga (1195153) | more than 3 years ago | (#36627166)

That's because it was only half of the joke. The other half is that you get 635 days of up time on a two-year contract.

Data loss is your own fault... (3, Insightful)

bjwest (14070) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626454)

Looking forward my expense forms have getting eaten by the cloud so I have to fill them in again.

Especially this early in the life cycle of this "cloud" crap. Any expectation of not loosing your data if you don't keep a backup yourself is entirely your own fault.

Besides, I though we left terminal computing (either smart or dumb) back in the '80's. Screw that crap, I'll keep my data and aps on my own computer, thank you.

Re:Data loss is your own fault... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36626638)

Besides, I though we left terminal computing (either smart or dumb) back in the '80's.

They should call it terminal computing again, because if you use it, that's the end of your data!

Re:Data loss is your own fault... (1)

Inda (580031) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626640)

Surely people can see the good too?

I'm fed up while having to double my storage capacity every few years. I'm fed up with having dusty DVDR backups laying around and I'm fed up with burning them. It's time to let someone else worry about it all; I have better things to do.

Re:Data loss is your own fault... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36626716)

You better get your data off those DVDRs bro. They don't last forever (and the cheap ones don't even last a few years). I learned that one the hard way.

Re:Data loss is your own fault... (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626772)

Crashplan allows you to back up to a local HDD as well as to their data centers, and automatically, all you need is a connection and your computer to be turned on. It's a hell of a lot easier than managing and tracking DVDs.

Re:Data loss is your own fault... (1)

MacTO (1161105) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626702)

If you want to keep your data and apps on your own computer, then you are free to do so. If someone else wants to keep their data and apps in the cloud, they have that option too. Or, better yet, pick and choose based upon the situation. After all, both standalone and cloud computing have their benefits and drawbacks.

Re:Data loss is your own fault... (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626710)

"Any expectation of not losing your data if you don't keep a backup yourself is entirely your own fault."

That applies anywhere.

Re:Data loss is your own fault... (1)

sorak (246725) | more than 3 years ago | (#36627028)

Besides, I though we left terminal computing (either smart or dumb) back in the '80's. Screw that crap, I'll keep my data and aps on my own computer, thank you.

No, ssh/VNC/X/MSTSC/"To The Cloud" (cue Hipster Victory music) is still alive and well.

The dog ate my homework. (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 3 years ago | (#36627324)

Besides, I though we left terminal computing (either smart or dumb) back in the '80's. Screw that crap, I'll keep my data and aps on my own computer, thank you.

Programs and data may belong to your employer and not to you.

The terminal was a desk-bound heavyweight. The smartphone or tablet is fragile, feather-light by comparison, easily mislaid and a magnet for thieves.

"John, the Penquin Club called to say you left your laptop behind at the bar."

Office 365 can be bundled with a subscription or lease for full - local - install of the MS Office suite beginning at $16/mo, as I recall.

Re:Data loss is your own fault... (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#36627378)

You can do both, you know? You can use the cloud, and back up your data.

Terminal computing and the cloud is the obvious move, it's just in the 90's there where still technical hurdles. For the most part those hurdles have been solved.

The terminal computing in the 80s was just a step away from using mainframes for most peoples work.

Different things for Different reasons.

The cloud is a great move for most people. Remember most people don't back up anyways Now their data is on a system they can access from new computers. A system that is backup.

Bargain (0)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626462)

Compare that with the uptime that typically have in any windows installation running the old office, for which you pay the full price, at least, if you access the new online version from a non-ms browser/operating system.

Speaking of typos . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36626468)

"Looking forward my expense forms have getting eaten by the cloud so I have to fill them in again." Yikes. I still don't understand why so many people treat Web forms like typewriters - write once, read never.

Re:Speaking of typos . . . (1)

spidercoz (947220) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626794)

I cringed when I read that mangled excuse for a sentence. For fuck's sake people, is it too much to ask to know how to USE the fucking language you speak? I've been noticing this shit more and more lately. Are we just getting lazier or stupider?

Re:Speaking of typos . . . (3, Insightful)

Skater (41976) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626948)

We're going through a process of dumbening.

Re:Speaking of typos . . . (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 3 years ago | (#36627812)

We're going through a process of dumbening.

as predicted by Art Bell in Highlander 2!

Google Docs: $0, Microsoft ineptitude: priceless (0)

dleemaas (2035220) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626492)

Oh, wait, that s--- is going to cost money? I should have known, I suppose. Oh Microsoft, so close and yet so far away.

Re:Google Docs: $0, Microsoft ineptitude: priceles (2)

BatGnat (1568391) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626548)

And to top it off, it is reportedly going to cost different prices dependent on where you live. From what I have read Even though the Aussie $ is higher than U.S. $ at the moment, we are going to pay up to 76% more (microsoft-office-365-cost-aust-companies-76%-more [technology...tor.com.au] )

Re:Google Docs: $0, Microsoft ineptitude: priceles (1)

Farmer Tim (530755) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626824)

From what I have read Even though the Aussie $ is higher than U.S. $ at the moment, we are going to pay up to 76% more.

Waterproof packets don't come cheap.

Price differentiation with lame excuses - the norm (1)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626988)

That's the norm.

This is from several years back - and the author doesn't even host the page anymore because it's outdated, but other than exact figure details, very much still applies:
http://web.archive.org/web/20090501014507/http://www.amanwithapencil.com/adobe.html [archive.org]

See also the excuses Adobe uses for the price differentiation:
http://web.archive.org/web/20090504203050/http://www.amanwithapencil.com/adobe_spin.html [archive.org]

This applies to practically all of the larger software companies. E.g. Adobe, Microsoft, Autodesk, Apple

Re:Google Docs: $0, Microsoft ineptitude: priceles (2)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626808)

The no-cost MS alternative to free Google Docs is SkyDrive (which has Office Web integrated with it). This discusses the paid option, which is competing with a different Google product.

Of course, you don't get any uptime guarantees for that $0, neither from Google nor from MS.

Re:Google Docs: $0, Microsoft ineptitude: priceles (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#36627398)

True; OTOH in any practical sense, it's not like they can let the up time slip. It would kill there pay business.

Re:Google Docs: $0, Microsoft ineptitude: priceles (1)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 3 years ago | (#36627400)

Sure you do. If there's any downtime on the free services, you get a 100% refund for every minute.

Wow, proofread? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36626496)

This submission is riddled with grammatical errors.

What is this, I don't even.

Proofread, seriously.

Re:Wow, proofread? (1)

MichaelKristopeit422 (2018884) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626912)

slashdot = stagnated

The cloud is horribly unreliable. (5, Insightful)

Shoe Puppet (1557239) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626532)

The cloud is horribly unreliable. You should continue using Windows and Office instead.

-- Microsoft.

What summary leaves out ... (5, Informative)

MacTO (1161105) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626544)

... is that more than 18 days of downtime results in a complete refund, 4 to 18 days of downtime results in a 50% refund, and 8 hours to 4 days of downtime results in a 25% refund. (Calculations are assuming 1 year of service, though I don't know how Microsoft does it.)

This is not what I would call excellent, but it is several orders of magnitude better than the summary suggested.

Re:What summary leaves out ... (1)

nicholas22 (1945330) | more than 3 years ago | (#36627240)

Uhm isn't 17.999... days still about 18 days? The summary said 18 days of downtime, still pay 50%. That's a pretty accurate summary when using my kind of rounding.

Re:What summary leaves out ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36627348)

Uhm isn't 17.999... days still about 18 days? The summary said 18 days of downtime, still pay 50%. That's a pretty accurate summary when using my kind of rounding.

 
...then I'm glad you don't work at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. But approximating the right number of fries with my happy meal? Yeah, ok.

Re:What summary leaves out ... (2)

MacTO (1161105) | more than 3 years ago | (#36627446)

The point is that the summary is horribly misleading because it is very selective about the information that it provides.

In that respect it is even more misleading than my post since 0.05*365.242199 is closer to 18.2621099 days. You may also wish to note that there are similar rounding errors (though I'd prefer to call them conversational conveniences) in all of the figures that I presented.

Thus my credibility is entirely destroyed and my original post should probably earn a score of "0, flame-bait" because I completely disregarded the Slashdot mantra of precision over accuracy.

Slashdot... (2, Insightful)

LBArrettAnderson (655246) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626610)

Come on, guys. It's just a SLA. You get a full refund if it's more than 5% downtime (18.25 days). You get half off for 99% to 95% uptime , and 25% off for 99.9% to 99%. Do you really think they're expecting to give these refunds? No. But it's there in a contract just in case. I doubt many people will even get the 25% refund. 99.9% isn't by any means terrible.

Write an article when it actually goes down. The mindless /. MS bashing needs to stop.

Really? (5, Interesting)

publiclurker (952615) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626782)

We use Microsoft's current online offering, and we've had both a 25% and a 50% refund in the last year and a half. the refund doesn't even begin to make up for the sales losses and confusion when our dealers can't get their orders through to us.

Re:Really? (1)

spruce (454842) | more than 3 years ago | (#36627768)

We use Microsoft's current online offering, and we've had both a 25% and a 50% refund in the last year and a half. the refund doesn't even begin to make up for the sales losses and confusion when our dealers can't get their orders through to us.

It's always a good idea to use the cloud to host crucial business systems with no fallback plans in case there are problems. Heck, the cloud is good for anything! Personally, my "waste processing" system is routed through the cloud. Sure that two week outage last month was a bit uncomfortable, but I had considered the ramifications of this design before implementing it, as I'm sure you guys did.

Re:Really? (1)

kgwilliam (998911) | more than 3 years ago | (#36627928)

When you say their "current online offering", you are talking about Office 365? The same Office 365 which RTW'ed just a couple days ago? So you hit less than 99.9% uptime for a Beta offering?

Re:Really? (1)

kenh (9056) | more than 3 years ago | (#36627960)

And why did you go to the cloud if you rneeds (seemingly) can't tolerate any sort of downtime?

I can only assume that rather than continue to put your business at risk you've since hired IT folks and created a complete, redundant datacenter that not only has redundant hardware, network access from diferent providers, and a reliable form of emergency power that can run the datacenter indefinitely so that your application can achieve the four (or more) nines your business obvioulsy demands?

If you have not, than obvioulsy you want four nines of uptime, but you aren't willing to pay for it - so you don't deserve it. Cash the refund checks and come up with an alternate route for processing orders.

Re:Slashdot... (0)

Riceballsan (816702) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626822)

Still kind of sad show of confidence. Competitor offers 99.9% up-time full guarantee counting maintenance etc... Microsoft counters with a 96% partial refund guarantee. If Microsoft made the first move it would be fairly respectable, but to bring out a counter move that is less then it's target is a tad silly. Something tells me microsoft's marketing department is not getting the idea of how to one up the competition. If you come in first whatever offer you make is considered good, coming in second and offering almost as much for a slightly higher price, is not a good decision.

Re:Slashdot... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36627534)

You misunderstand Google's SLA. Microsoft's is actually better. Here's what Google actually promises:

http://www.google.com/apps/intl/en/terms/sla.html [google.com]

Re:Slashdot... (1)

nabsltd (1313397) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626868)

Do you really think they're expecting to give these refunds?

Do you really think Sony expected the PlayStation Network would be down an entire month?

Re:Slashdot... (1)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 3 years ago | (#36627222)

Come on, guys. It's just a SLA. You get a full refund if it's more than 5% downtime (18.25 days). You get half off for 99% to 95% uptime , and 25% off for 99.9% to 99%. Do you really think they're expecting to give these refunds? No. But it's there in a contract just in case. I doubt many people will even get the 25% refund. 99.9% isn't by any means terrible.

Write an article when it actually goes down. The mindless /. MS bashing needs to stop.

Apparently they *do* expect to have to pay out on their SLA guarantee, otherwise they would have made it a 100% refund. Or even a 150% guarantee "We're so confident in our service that we will pay *you* half your monthly fee if we're down more than 5% of the time"

99.9% is reasonable for a cloud hosted app, but if they miss that target then they only pay me 25% of my monthly fee which doesn't really offset the cost to me if my entire workforce is idled for an hour because they can't reach their email, documents, etc.

Re:Slashdot... (2)

kenh (9056) | more than 3 years ago | (#36627906)

Three nines is almost 9 hours of outage, but they can come in little bursts, not all at once, and still count as a total of 9 hours of outage.

If you need three nines ( and that includes not only work hours but evening and weekend hours when your workforce probably wasn't using Live365 anyways), maybe you shouldn't be on a cloud service.

I once worked for an employer that turned off email from 11:00 -> 1:00 every work day on purpose. It was to increase actual productivity and reduce mindless CC:'ing and endless messaging about preparing to do something...

Re:Slashdot... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36628220)

This actually seems pretty good to me. They offer a remedy if the service does not meet the expected uptime. This seems to be a much better solution than providers like Amazon, who's uptimes are blatantly outside of their SLA's, yet there is no recourse to users. In addition, I bet Microsoft's uptime will end up being better than most in-house data centers.

Frame it in the worse light possible (5, Informative)

kervin (64171) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626736)

I actually thought the assurances were descent. Try looking at the SLA for your other cloud products to compare. Plus I've had Microsoft hosted Exchange for almost 2 years now and can't remember a single outage.

But what's sad is that the title of this 'article' and summary tries so obviously and desperately to frame the SLA in the worse possible light.

How about reporting something newsworthy, like the fact that Microsoft released Windows Phone 7.5 Beta 2 ( Mango release ) [engadget.com] to the entire development community yesterday.

Re:Frame it in the worse light possible (1)

Riceballsan (816702) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626874)

Even the typo ridden summary compared it side by side to the guarantee that came before it (google apps). From the above linked article "In 2010, Gmail specifically achieved a 99.984 percent uptime rate both for consumers and professionals who use it as part of Apps, Google said."

Re:Frame it in the worse light possible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36627144)

That comes out to about a 1.5 hour downtime. Not bad...

Re:Frame it in the worse light possible (3, Informative)

Karzz1 (306015) | more than 3 years ago | (#36627452)

Plus I've had Microsoft hosted Exchange for almost 2 years now and can't remember a single outage.

I call bullshit. I have had BPOS with my company for almost a year and have experienced several outages (I am keeping track because this was upper managments call against the advice of IT):

22 June 2011
http://www.networkworld.com/community/blog/microsoft-confirms-bpos-cloud-outage [networkworld.com]
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/06/23/bpos_outage/ [theregister.co.uk]

10-13 May 2011
http://www.katacinta.net/cinta/microsoft-online-outage-may-10/ [katacinta.net]
http://www.techworld.com.au/article/386384/outage_hits_hosted_exchange_customers/ [techworld.com.au]
http://www.infoworld.com/d/cloud-computing/hosted-exchange-customers-hit-service-outages-981 [infoworld.com]
http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9216697/Microsoft_explains_recent_hosted_e_mail_outages [computerworld.com]

6 March 2011:
http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/onlineservicesexchange/thread/7017abf4-a9d9-4c08-85ac-f66912124493/ [microsoft.com]
19 October 2010
http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/onlineservicesannouncements/thread/e72e8707-7457-4737-b246-2598769e54cf/ [microsoft.com]
3 & 7 September 2010 & 23 Aug 2010
http://www.zdnet.com/blog/microsoft/microsoft-bpos-down-for-90-minutes-second-outage-in-a-month/7302 [zdnet.com]
http://mcpmag.com/articles/2010/09/10/microsoft-reports-major-bpos-outages-slas-affected.aspx [mcpmag.com]
http://blogs.technet.com/b/msonline/archive/2010/09/08/meeting-your-and-our-own-expectations.aspx [technet.com]
http://www.zdnet.com/blog/microsoft/microsoft-apologizes-for-spate-of-recent-online-services-outages/7337 [zdnet.com]

Timing (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626898)

Dear Valued Customer;

We apologize that the recent outage has caused you to lose the multi-million dollar contract. Here is a check for $2000 to compensate for the down time.

Sincerely,
Microsoft

Re:Timing (2)

ChromaticDragon (1034458) | more than 3 years ago | (#36627202)

But would it really?

That is to say, is your scenario that downtime of the cloud would result in the loss of a multi-million dollar contract in any way shape or form realistic?

I am no fan of "the cloud" in this context. But is there some aspect of Office 365 (or is this now Office 347?) that would prevent people from making offline copies of their work? Wasn't the idea of the ability of making offline copies via Office 365 one of Micrsoft's earlier advantages over Google.

The cloud may make collaboration easier. The cloud may make presentations easier. But if I were your Customer and you were dumb enough not to have ANY offline backups to send me in lieu of an ongoing Microsoft outage, you'd lose my business for that demonstrated stupidity right there.

Re:Timing (1)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 3 years ago | (#36627404)

But would it really?

That is to say, is your scenario that downtime of the cloud would result in the loss of a multi-million dollar contract in any way shape or form realistic?

Here's a more realistic scenario: 32 hour outage spanning 2 full business days. Company is paying $24/mo for 100 users = $2400 refund. (or, 18 hour intermittent outage, spanning 2 business days)

Company sent employees home with pay because without access to email, calendars, or documents they can't get any work done.

Each employee costs $50/hour average so 100 * $50 * 16 hours = $80,000.

So Microsoft paid out $2400 to "compensate" a company with a direct loss of $80K, plus indirect losses caused by the business being closed for 2 days (unable to process customer orders, etc)

Re:Timing (1)

kenh (9056) | more than 3 years ago | (#36627790)

And if it happens on the weekend, what is the "cost" of the 18 hour outage? Very nearly nothing in most cases.

Your imagined/calculated $80K "cost" is cut in half if the outage spills over into the weekend OR spillsover from the weekend into Monday...

Let's not forget the month over month savings from not having an IT infrastructure beyond a couple switches and an internet connection - that has to figure into your savings when weighed against the cost of an outage.

Your imaginary "company" has 100 employees who suddently become incapable of producing anything of value when their Live365 access is cut off? No cached documents, no local installs of Office? There's nothing they can do? Sounds like a company that shouldn't have been on a cloud-based solution, IMHO.

Re:Timing (1)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 3 years ago | (#36628238)

And if it happens on the weekend, what is the "cost" of the 18 hour outage? Very nearly nothing in most cases.

Your imagined/calculated $80K "cost" is cut in half if the outage spills over into the weekend OR spillsover from the weekend into Monday...

Let's not forget the month over month savings from not having an IT infrastructure beyond a couple switches and an internet connection - that has to figure into your savings when weighed against the cost of an outage.

Your imaginary "company" has 100 employees who suddently become incapable of producing anything of value when their Live365 access is cut off? No cached documents, no local installs of Office? There's nothing they can do? Sounds like a company that shouldn't have been on a cloud-based solution, IMHO.

So you're telling me I get all of the cost savings from "not having an IT infrastructure beyond a couple switches and an internet connection", yet my company is stupid because I have no local installs of Office and can't get any work done without Live365?

Re:Timing (1)

kenh (9056) | more than 3 years ago | (#36627826)

Maybe, just maybe, after the first few hours of the outage it would occur to an employee to go to BestBuy and pick up a retail copy of Office and install it on their PCs? Or maybe download the tial software from MS and run that for the duration of the outage?

Nope, I guess when a multi-million dollar contract is on the line, there's no way the employees can "think outside the box"...

Microsoft Online Failure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36626998)

I'm not a MS hater. I use Windows and it's alright for what it does.

But Microsoft's online services, especially their websites, have been and still are absolutely terrible. They never worked in all [standard compliant] browsers, they are a mess to navigate and to find anything. Even Bill Gates said it once, BTW.

There are a few exceptions of course. Bing Maps looks decent to me. But overall, MS needs to catch up badly. It's not the 90s anymore.

How is this a bad thing? (2)

brainzach (2032950) | more than 3 years ago | (#36627012)

This forces Microsoft to put their ass on the line and deliver.

If Microsoft risks losing half its revenue, they are going to spend the resources to prevent it.

Re:How is this a bad thing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36628094)

>This forces Microsoft to put their ass on the line and deliver.

Ewww!

How long before the first hacker data dump? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36627124)

Let me if I understand office 365 correctly my company can place all of it's data on the internet in one spot, everything from Documents to Emails? If this is the case they when dont I just cut out the middle man let wiki-leaks host all my Intellectual Property?

I give 7 months before the first Fortune 500 company wide data dump. 2 months to decide to go on the MS-Cloud , 5 months for the implementation and 72 hours before its hacked.

Way to spin it submitter (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36627174)

From TFA

Under the service level agreement, [Office 365] customers receive 25 per cent off their monthly payment if uptime falls below 99.9 per cent to 99 per cent, half of the sum back if it falls below 99 per cent and a complete refund for anything under 95 per cent.

Compare this with the google apps SLA [google.com] and you'll see MSFT's is actually better.

Monthly uptime = Credit given
99.9% to 99.0% = 3 Day credit (MSFT gives 7.5 days)
99.0% to 95.0% = 7 Day credit (MSFT gives 15 days)
Under 95.0% = 15 Day credit (MSFT gives 30 days)

It's worth noting that these are both just SLAs. There was no mention of any downtime actually happening for either service

Word & Excel 2.0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36627510)

Honestly, software is just getting bloated making it worse & worse. 99% of what people do can still be done on version of word & excel that ran on windows 2.11. How about a guarantee to never add any more crap to the software?

Opportunity costs are the big expense (2)

sjbe (173966) | more than 3 years ago | (#36627608)

The real expense isn't actually the cost of the service. The real expense is the LOST PRODUCTIVITY. That does not get compensated in form by any vendor. Frankly they could offer it for free for a year and not cover the cost of the lost productivity for a single day for a heavy office application user. 99.9% reliability means 8.76 hours of downtime per year. Someone making $20/hour would cost $175. Add in the fact that they presumably are there because their services are more valuable than their salary (otherwise why hire them?) and you can add on even more cost. Our at breakeven our company brings in revenue of about $100,000 per employee per year which for 240 working days works about to about $416/day. A seat of LibreOffice or even Microsoft Office is cheap compared with lost productivity.

Furthermore no matter how reliable a "cloud" services vendor might be, they can never be more reliable than the internet and power connections of the customer. Getting an uptime guarantee from the ISP is not cheap and you also have to have backup power to ensure computers function when the lights go out. I've had outages where I live of several hours at least 3 times in the past 12 months.

Cloud computing has its advantages but the economic advantages are still pretty unclear for most of us.

So? Standard practice, folks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36627658)

Refunds are for indy developers and people who have to give a crap about their customers.

At least Microsoft isn't charging you $60 for a monocle for Clippy.

just over 95% uptime (1)

kenh (9056) | more than 3 years ago | (#36627698)

So, to take the original poster's comment that 36 hour outage in a month yields a 50% refund on service fees, that seems OK, I mean, it's 95% uptime (365-18)/365 * 100 = 95%. Would I like it if my service went down for 18 hours straight? No, of course not - but what is the suggested compensation for a 36-hour outage? 100% refund for the month despite giving the user 28 1/2 days of uninterrupted service?

What does Google offer for a 36 hour (1 1/2 day) outage? Amazon? I suspect this is actually a generous commitment from MS compared with other vendors in the space, but the Anti-MS bias forces the original poster to turn everything around and flaunt their ignorance of the subject.

If you can't afford for access to cloud services to go down, you shouldn't be on a cloud service.

99.99% does not equal 100% plus wrong SLA for MS (1)

zyfly (26640) | more than 3 years ago | (#36627888)

Is this just a troll post or can't the submitter read? First that link source specifically says that Google isn't changing to 100% uptime but is keeping their recently updated 99.99% uptime. Additionally the 99.99% uptime SLA only applies to Google Apps business customers who are paying for service not consumers.

A quick search on Microsoft's Office 365's product page states: "Financially-backed, guaranteed 99.9% uptime Service Level Agreement (SLA)". The service level commitment states drops below 99.9% uptime in any given month is eligible for a service credit using the following chart:
  99.9% = 25% Service Credit
  99% = 50% service credit
  95% = 100% service credit.

The full SLA details can be found in the online services document at: http://microsoftvolumelicensing.com/DocumentSearch.aspx?Mode=3&DocumentTypeId=37

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