Is Azure down right now?

We’re now so invested in the hyperscalers that there’s no way back. It’s a good thing they don’t break too often.

02 May 2024

This is the stuff that perfect storms are made of. Mid- March brought pain for Microsoft users in South Africa, as multiple services fell over. According to an exhaustive entry on the Azure status history page, this was due to, among other reasons, multiple concurrent fibre cable cuts off Africa’s West Coast. As misfortune would have it, there were also cable cuts in the Red Sea, which affected its East Coast network capacity to Africa. And the backup capacity path got congested, which didn’t help matters. The issue also likely affected businesses the length and breadth of Africa as much of the continent’s IT infrastructure is run from datacentres in South Africa. If there’s a lesson to be learned here, it’s that organisations need to have invested in more than one cloud. It’s also not clear how many local organisations, or our public sector for that matter, have actually got a working multicloud model, but it’s unlikely that their systems are completely redundant. We’re all so invested in Microsoft 365. At least calls can be shifted to Zoom.

Meanwhile, it appears that South Africa’s Competition Commission is preparing to go after Microsoft. Bloomberg reported in early April that the commission would accuse the cloud giant of charging too much for migration to other vendors. The complaint is yet to be issued, but Microsoft in March said it would no longer charge customers in Europe egress fees to migrate data from Azure. Google made a similar announcement in January, followed by AWS in March. Google and Azure customers making the switch will have to close their accounts. This is not the case with AWS.

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