Really, really, really great timing, Microsoft.
Microsoft Teams, the organization’s instant chat, communications and collaboration app was down across Europe Monday morning for over two hours. That spelled disaster as Monday also marked the beginning of major shutdowns across the globe due to COVID-19.
The company’s Twitter account dedicated to providing stats updates of Microsoft 365 products first reported issues just before 5 a.m. Eastern Time, which is the start of the work day in most of Europe.
Microsoft said it rerouted user connections and that should have fixed the issue for users experiencing outages. Today, Microsoft identified the issue as a caching issue within a component of the service’s infrastructure.
We’ve rerouted user connections to alternate systems and our monitoring indicates that impact is mitigated. We’ve confirmed that the impact associated with TM206559 is related to TM206556 and will continue to update TM206556 with the latest status as we monitor service health.
— Microsoft 365 Status (@MSFT365Status) March 16, 2020
We investigated and resolved an issue with the Teams chat service that affected some of our users in the Europe region. We determined this to be a caching issue within a component of our infrastructure. More details will updated under the SI# TM206556.
— Microsoft 365 Status (@MSFT365Status) March 17, 2020
Microsoft Teams, like many other collaboration and conferencing tools, has seen a huge spike in usage the past few months due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
Earlier this month, Microsoft said it has seen a 500% increase in Teams usage and a 200% increase in usage on mobile devices in China.
Las week, the company said chat volume was up 50% in the U.S., while audio and video meetings were up 37%.
Maybe we were being naïve to think these services and apps would be able to handle this huge increase in users and adapt to the demand overnight. Zoom was also reporting some connectivity issues to start this week.
Aside from the mass exodus from offices putting a strain on these services, the companies that host these apps have removed restrictions on usage limits and even made some services free.
Microsoft, much like Zoom, Google, LogMeIn, Bluejeans and many other unified communication and collaboration solution providers have announced either free services or reduced limits on services as organizations — and the world — adapt to remote work at the hands of the novel coronavirus.
We’re clearly in uncharted territory here, so these issues are to be expected. Hopefully, Microsoft and the rest of Big Tech is ready to act immediately if there are mass outages.