Millions of Hotmail users cut off by Microsoft 'cloud' failure
Millions of users of Hotmail and other Microsoft services worldwide were unable to access their online accounts this morning after the firm's "cloud" suffered a major technical failure.
Microsoft is the second best employer to work for, according to the survey. Photo: EPA
As well as Hotmail, the outage affected Office 365 and the Skydrive online storage service.
Microsoft said the cause appeared to be related to the Domain Name System, the computer network that ensures that web addresses are connected to websites.
“Preliminary root cause suggests a DNS issue,” the firm said on its office 365 Twitter feed.
The problems lasted for at least two-and-a-half hours, beginning at around 4AM British Summer Time.
On a company blog, Microsoft said it had fixed the problem at 5.45AM, but the repairs took some time to “propagate” through the DNS network.
"We are working on propagating the DNS configuration changes and so it will take some time to restore service to everyone. Again we appreciate your patience," the firm said.
For Office 365, Microsoft’s subscription-only competitor to Google Apps, which went live earlier this year, it was the second major technical failure in less than a month.
Such incidents are likely to give pause to organisations considering migration to online “cloud” services, whereby software is delivered from vast data centres, over the internet.