Cloud services sound good on paper. But many businesses are still hesitant to adopt cloud services because they don’t yet have a proven track record.
Microsoft has had several major outages with their Lync Online service over the past few months. And as of today (September 30, 2014) Microsoft’s SharePoint Online service has suffered multiple outages over the past two days.
Cloud services – in general – are a great idea: moving the complexity of management and reducing the need for hardware to a cloud vendor cuts costs while increasing functionality. My concern is that the more complex newer services such as SharePoint and Lync are still largely untested: the complexity is too high for even Microsoft to reliably manage at the moment. If you put all of your data on Sharepoint and rely on Lync for all of your communications and either of them goes down you are sunk.
We use Microsoft’s SharePoint Online service as part of Office365 ourselves: it’s a really handy way to store documents and quickly collaborate on projects. And SharePoint itself is infinitely flexible and solves many business needs.
But these unplanned outages are extremely frustrating, which is why we have stopped short of really pushing it out to all of our clients right now. If you need SharePoint and it is absolutely mission critical, we still recommend building your own server (or we can do it for you, of course!)
I want Microsoft to succeed here: I know they will ultimately fix this. But when you’re considering cloud services keep in mind that not everything is going to go perfectly — and we’re still probably a couple years away from having “utility-like” reliability in all of these advanced services.
For more information about recent Lync outages, please see my recent article: Lync, Great idea but it needs some time to mature…