What's going on with Microsoft Azure?

Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform has been hit by a widespread outage, affecting services across the globe.

The disruption is also disrupting a number of other Microsoft services such as its press centre, the Windows Store and Xbox Live. Only the most recent additions to the Azure footprint, the Australian facilities, have been unaffected.

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Although Microsoft has confirmed it is investigating the issue, the outage will come as a major blow to the firm, which promises that some of its Azure services will be available “99.9 per cent” of the time.

Some of Microsoft’s Azure clients include major brand names such as Apple, eBay, Toyota and Tesco, as well as smaller independent businesses.

SocialSafe, a UK company helping users to monitor their social media activity, told the BBC that the issue was having a serious impact on their business.

"It's hugely disruptive. There's obviously an adverse impact when your whole website goes down - that's where people expect to download and access our service," SocialSafe's founder Julian Ranger explained.

"We switched to Azure because the previous provider did occasionally have outages and obviously you want your site and the supporting software, which is hosted on servers behind it, to always be operating."

The outage also comes at a bad time for Microsoft, as it had recently upped its efforts to publicise its Azure platform, which competes against the likes of Amazon Web Services (AWS).

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Microsoft Azure also suffered a major outage early last year, after the service crashed due to an expired security certificate.