Service health and continuity
Microsoft admins can view the status of services and find out when maintenance is scheduled. Service health information is available at any time by signing in.
If you are using Office 365 operated by 21Vianet, some of the information below might not apply. Instead, see the 21Vianet service level agreement.
View status of services
The Service health section shows the current status of the service and details about service disruptions and outages. Planned maintenance information is available on the Message Center. For more information, see View the status of your services.
A service incident is an event that affects the delivery of a service. Service incidents may be caused by hardware or software failure in the Microsoft data center, a faulty network connection between the customer and Microsoft, or a major data center challenge such as fire, flood, or regional catastrophe. Most service incidents can be addressed using Microsoft technology and process solutions and are resolved within a short time. However, some service incidents are more serious and can lead to longer term outages.
There are two types of notifications about times when services may not be available:
Planned maintenance events: Planned maintenance is regular Microsoft-initiated service updates to the infrastructure and software applications. Planned maintenance notifications inform customers about service work that might affect the functionality of a Microsoft service. Customers are notified no later than five days in advance of all planned maintenance through Message Center on the Microsoft 365 admin center. Microsoft typically plans maintenance for times when service usage is historically at its lowest based on regional time zones.
Unplanned downtime: Unplanned service incidents occur when one of the services is unavailable or unresponsive.
Recent worldwide uptimes
Moving to a cloud service shouldn't mean losing the ability to know what's going on. With Office 365, it doesn't. We aim to be transparent in our operations so you can monitor the state of your service, track issues, and have a historical view of availability. The following tables show recent worldwide uptime data.
When a service incident occurs, Microsoft recognizes that timely, targeted, and accurate communications are critical for customers. Microsoft notifies administrators by updating the tenant-specific Service Health Dashboard (SHD) on the Microsoft 365 admin center. Service incident updates are provided on an hourly cadence or, if a different cadence is required, it will be stated in the SHD communication posting.
Service health communication channels
The Admin App for organization administrators gives you the ability to connect with your organization's Microsoft service status on the go. Microsoft administrators will have the ability to view service health information and maintenance status updates from their mobile devices. For more information, visit the Admin App FAQ.
Office 365 Management Pack for Microsoft System Center 2012 R2
Microsoft System Center is an integrated management platform that helps you manage data center, client devices, and hybrid cloud IT environments. Microsoft administrators who use System Center now have the option to import the Office 365 Management Pack, which lets them view all service communications within Operations Manager in System Center. Using this tool gives you access to the status of your subscribed services, active and resolved service incidents, and your Message Center communications. For more information, get the Microsoft System Center Management Pack for Office 365 in the Microsoft Download Center.
Office 365 Service Communications API
The Office 365 Service Communications API lets you access service communications the way you want. With this API, you have the ability to create or connect your tools to service communications, potentially simplifying how you monitor your environment. The Service Communications API lets you monitor the following items your environment:
Real-time service health
Message Center communications
For more information, see the Office 365 Service Communications API reference.
Microsoft's commitment to continuous improvement involves analysis of unplanned customer-impacting service incidents to minimize future recurrence.
Unplanned service incidents are defined as multi-tenant service disruptions that impact service usage as defined by our service-level agreements (SLAs), and have been declared as such on the Service Health Dashboard.
For unplanned customer-impacting service incidents in which there was broad and noticeable impact across a large number of organizations, a preliminary Post-Incident Review (PIR) will be delivered via your Service Health Dashboard within 48 hours of incident resolution, followed by a final PIR within five business days. The detailed PIR report includes:
User experience and customer impact
Incident start and end date/time
Detailed timeline of impact and resolution measures
Root cause analysis and actions being taken for continuous improvement
For all other service incidents, the Service Health Dashboard will provide an incident closure summary including a final summary of the event, preliminary root cause, start and end times, and information detailing next steps. For this category of service incident, a PIR will not be generated.
Microsoft offerings are delivered by highly resilient systems that help to maintain peak service performance. Service continuity provisions are part of the system design. These provisions enable Microsoft to recover quickly from unexpected events such as hardware or application failure, data corruption, or other incidents that affect users. These service continuity solutions also apply during catastrophic outages (for example, natural disasters or an incident within a Microsoft data center that renders the entire data center inoperable).
Note that after recovery from catastrophic outages, there may be a period of time before full data center redundancy is restored for the service. For example, if Data Center 1 fails, services are restored by resources in Data Center 2. However, there may be a period of time until services in Data Center 2 have service continuity support either by restored resources in Data Center 1, or new resources in Data Center 3. The Microsoft Service Level Agreement (SLA) applies during this time. Office 365 operated by 21Vianet has a different SLA. For more information, see the 21Vianet site.
Ensuring data availability
Microsoft ensures that customer data is available whenever it is needed through the following features:
Data storage and redundancy: Customer data is stored in a redundant environment with robust data protection capabilities to enable availability, business continuity, and rapid recovery. Multiple levels of data redundancy are implemented, ranging from redundant disks to guard against local disk failure to continuous, full data replication to a geographically diverse data center.
Data monitoring: Microsoft services maintain high levels of performance by monitoring:
Completing preventative maintenance: Preventative maintenance includes database consistency checks, periodic data compression, and error log reviews.
The Microsoft development and operations teams are complemented by a dedicated support organization, which plays an important role in providing customers with business continuity. Support staff has a deep knowledge of the service and its associated applications as well as direct access to Microsoft experts in architecture, development, and testing.
The support organization closely aligns with operations and product development, offers fast resolution times and provides a channel for customers' voices to be heard. Feedback from customers provides input to the planning, development, and operations processes.
Online issue tracking: Customers need to know that their issues are being addressed, and they need to be able to track timely resolution. The Microsoft 365 admin center provides a single web-based interface for support. Customers can use the portal to add and monitor service requests and receive feedback from Microsoft support teams.
Self-help, backed by continuous staff support: Microsoft offers a wide range of self-help resources and tools that can help customers to resolve service-related issues without requiring Microsoft support.
Before customers enter service requests, they can access knowledge base articles and FAQs that provide immediate help with the most common problems. These resources are continually updated with the latest information, which helps avoid delays by providing solutions to known issues. However, when an issue arises that needs the help of a support professional; staff members are available for immediate assistance by telephone and through the administration portal 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
For more information about support, see the Support article.
To view feature availability across plans, see Microsoft 365 and Office 365 platform service description.