offswitch

Updated 4th October: Finally the website is back online and things are now again working. I have to say that Microsoft Support have been excellent, in touch every day until the issues were resolved. In the end, with the upgrades to the service, I needed to reset my browser and change some settings at my domain provider (Cloaking is no longer supported).

Updated 25th September: I’ve heard from Microsoft support, who walked through some setup steps but still have no resolution, however they are working on it. Will keep you posted.

Further update 25th September: Apparently the issues are to do with me only. CNAME problems and a “corrupt browser”, which is weird, because, this:

SkyDrive stumbles, becomes latest cloud app to get glitchy

Google Search showing SkyDrive problems in the last 24 hours

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I’ve been using Microsoft 365 since beta, never had any issues with it, a few minor niggles, but basically it has ticked along quite happily for the last few years. Until the recent Sharepoint upgrade.

Now, my Microsoft 365 is a disaster zone. While I can access the files inside of the service (just), the online pages that serve them are all over the place. I can’t auto-open explorer to see my files that way, I get served blank pages, can’t upload files, my public website is broken despite the DNS being set correctly, it won’t allow me to login using IE 10 (all patched and up to date), and a host of other errors. The only thing that appears to be working is email.

Worse, the ability for me to send a ticket to Microsoft for support, doesn’t work. Now, I’ve had to call them, but the time zone difference means that I will be losing another day today, and that’s just to try and get the website up and running again.

I use two flavours of MS365, because Microsoft doesn’t seem to be able to join them up. The first is for email, sharepoint (now Skydrive, who’s idea was THAT), and a public website. The second is for Office 2013, which also gives you Skydrive, but a different instance. Both have different accounts that can’t be merged, which means that I can’t get single-sign-on to services. It’s a pain in the arse frankly.

It’s not just me. Since the upgrade to Sharepoint users have been having a host of issues, some quite serious. File upload issues, workflow issues, API problems, disappearing folders, connection to email issues, search issues, problems with user administration, and so on.

This is a screw up of rather epic proportions that doesn’t seem to have made its way into the mainstream media. Yet. Like I said before, the service has always been niggly, now it is plain unusable.

So that means that I am on the move. It’s going to cost me two days or more to get out and find something else. That’s when the fun starts.

The 20GB or so of data I have in MS365 is going to have to be copied down to my local device and then uploaded to a new service. That’s not so bad given that I am on fast copper, but it’s going to chew a third of my data cap up for the month and the upload is going to be significantly slower than the copy down. Most of that copy will have to be done folder by folder, because the file explorer API is broken for me.

Of course, when those files are moved, or rather copied, they’ll lose metadata. For example, the data will reset to the day I migrate them and all the permissions for internal staff and shared data for customers will have to be setup again.

I’m going to have to find another website provider, recreate my site, and move all the DNS to point at it. That’s quite a lot of work and I literally have twelve pages of static information.

I’m going to have to migrate my users. Again, a pain in the arse, but not onerous, its a bit of work on each client. Permissions will have to be reset.

It doesn’t look like you can get your email out of MS365 either, so a decision is going to have to be made on whether we retain that service or not.

I’m going to have to migrate my customers. Where I have been sharing files and work areas with some customers, they will have to be recreated.

Now I am a small company that really doesn’t rely on its website for anything other than being a billboard. Imagine if you were a 200 user medium size business, that used your website for sales, had over 1TB of data, used Sharepoint for workflow, and managed a mobile workforce.

You’d be screwed. The ability for you to move that kind of workload out of MS365 is really low. Really really low. You’d be waiting for them to fix the problems I would suggest.

So what’s the lesson?

Simple.

Buy Hybrid Cloud Services, don’t stick all your eggs in one basket. The MS365 service is primarily a SaaS model (Sharepoint, website, and email) running on a IaaS / PaaS service (file storage). The point is, it’s all in one. So when one component screws up that is linked to the other components that entire service is screwed.

Next lesson; you have zero control over a SaaS service. If they want to upgrade it, you’re getting it. You’re a tenant along with millions of others and you have no say.

So; I’ll be moving files to a service, website to a service, and email to a service. That way, if one goes down, then the others aren’t affected.

The other thing that I’ll be doing is looking for services that have an exit strategy. That means I can get my data out of there if I need to, easily, not via the bastardised method I am about to employ.

At least it gives me a chance to try out some new Cloud services, but its a weekend of work that I didn’t need.

I’ll let you know how I get on.

2 comments

  1. Hi Ian, I look after our public Cloud services in New Zealand. Let me apologise that you have had some issues with our Office365 service. I have emailed you just now to follow-up on them and have engaged our support team to check where this is at for you. We can see you have logged a support case relating to your Office365 hosted Public Website and we have tried to connect back with you on this already. The website is up and running on our service [assuming your isisgroup.co.nz site] so this is likely a DNS issue. The other issues you refer to around document mgmt. and Sharepoint.com pages not loading are not normal at all (assuming you mean this as opposed to the public site you have). Most customers migrated to the latest Sharepoint Online have had no issues, and the issues you refer to on the support log are all mostly minor.

    Anyway as indicated in my email, we need to get some more info from you on this and I will have our support team work on this asap. We aim to ensure customers are getting the value of the service as advertised (I’d also like to clarify for you and your readers some of your other comments above, but lets wait until we resolve your issues first 🙂

    Cheers
    Paul

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