Microsoft cloud servers slow down


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Microsoft has quietly announced some minor but important slow down in some of their cloud services including the way real-time edits of Office documents are handled.

It’s a wise move given the increased demand for cloud services.  Microsoft had an outage on their much-hyped Teams services earlier this week.  Like other cloud companies, Microsoft has to quickly rearrange resources to cope with increased and changed demand.

What a shame that Microsoft’s announcement was unnecessarily vague and incomplete. Leaving admins and users uncertain at a time when facts and clarity are necessary.  It seems that, even now, Microsoft can’t help hiding bad news with obfuscation.

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Here’s what we know

Microsoft’s actions seem sensible, we just wish they’d be more open and specific with their customers.

Microsoft is reducing the response time or ‘polling’ that the servers do.

All services still run, maybe just a little more slowly than usual.

That said, as we’re already seen, there may be some disconnections (Microsoft calls it ‘degradations’). It’s a good idea to have alternatives.

Do you have enough tech ‘eggs’ in different ‘baskets’?

Collaboration might be slower

For example, when collaborating on a shared document from OneDrive, SharePoint or Teams.  There are ‘presence’ indicators for who is using the document and tagged pointers showing where each person is typing.

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Those features will continue working but maybe not as quickly as usual.  Edits might not appear to others as quickly as you’re used to.

Microsoft hasn’t mentioned it specifically, but it seems likely that comments from collaborators might take longer to appear in the shared document.  There might be a similar lag with the live messaging available in some cases.

Video Resolution

‘Video Resolution’ is also mentioned without details.  Presumably they are referring to resolution settings for Remote Desktop connections to their virtual services.

Who is affected?

Microsoft has only notified Office 365 hosting administrators, see the message below.

‘Owners’ or admins using the free Teams service have not received a similar notification. Though it probably applies there as well.

It’s probable that the same limitations apply to OneDrive as used by Office 365 Home/Personal/Uni plans.

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Do you have enough tech ‘eggs’ in different ‘baskets’?

Microsoft’s message

This is Microsoft’s email to Office 365 admins. In our view it’s unnecessarily vague and incomplete.  Their three bullet points are only ‘examples’ not a complete list.

“ To best support our Microsoft 365 customers worldwide and accommodate new growth and demand during these unprecedented times, we’re making temporary adjustments to select non-essential capabilities. We do not expect these changes to have significant impact on the end users experience but wanted to make you aware.

Examples of changes we may make include:

  • how often we check for presence

  • the interval in which we show when the other party is typing

  • video resolution “

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