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Expired SSL Certificate Brings Down Windows Azure Cloud

An expired SSL certificate brought down Windows Azure cloud storage for 12 hours over the weekend, according to a post Sunday on the Windows Azure blog.

The worldwide outage impacted HTTPS traffic, and a number of Windows Azure services dependent on storage, Steve Martin, general manager, Windows Azure Business and Operations, said. The scope of the outage was enough for Windows Azure to decide to "proactively provide credits to impacted customers in accordance with [its] SLA," he said, which will be reflected on a subsequent invoice.

The mistake of allowing a SSL certificate to expire is not something that would be expected of an organization like Microsoft. The trivial error will cost Microsoft big time as it promises to reimburse customers impacted by the lengthy outage.

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In the Data Center Knowledge report, Windows Azure Cloud Crashed by Expired SSL Certificate, Rich Miller asked how a company that has spent more than $15 billion building its cloud infrastructure could make such a mistake. So how did an expired SSL certificate crash the Windows Azure storage cloud computing platform Friday and Saturday? It’s an expensive question for Microsoft."

A year ago, Windows Azure customers were credited after a "Leap Day" bug with a security certificate caused a 12 hour outage.

Both Windows Azure outages show that small details can have a big impact when it comes to outages and downtime in the cloud.

Talk back: Did the Windows Azure cloud outage affect any of your services? Do you think Microsoft’s mistake with the SSL certificate is a sloppy error that should have been avoided? Let us know in a comment.

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