While plenty of attention is being paid to the various features of Microsoft Office 365, one factor is frequently left by the wayside: reliability.
Microsoft is trying to present Office 365 as a completely new system. Certainly one of the reasons for Microsoft's fresh new face is that 365's predecessor, BPOS, has achieved no small amount of notoriety for its reliability record -- or lack thereof.
Last year, BPOS crashed for protracted periods of time on Aug. 23, Sept. 3, and Sept. 7. In response, Microsoft apologized, starting a new service called the Microsoft Online Service Health Dashboard that's supposed to keep customers advised on outages. Two problems: The Dashboard is visible only to paying BPOS customers, and it doesn't work when you need it the most.
BPOS went down at least three times last month. During those three outages, the Health Dashboard was worse than useless: It reported no problems, while there clearly were extensive outages. On June 22 -- yes, just last week -- BPOS went down again. At the same time, the Health Dashboard stopped working altogether.
In response to the latest debacle, the MSOnline group tweeted, "O365 should provide a more stable service. It is built from ground up new and reports and expectations are very good." There was no mention of the lapses with the Health Dashboard.
Google Apps outages, by contrast, are generally infrequent and short-lived. Even the tiniest disruption of service reliably appears on the Apps Status Dashboard.
It remains to be seen if Microsoft's reliability will improve with this all-new system.
This story, "Office 365: The uptime factor," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.