Microsoft Refunds to Azure Leap Day Bug Customers And Drops Pricing

Microsoft announced that it will provide a credit to all current Windows Azure customers in response to a system outage due to February 29 leap day bug. The company decided to to provide a 33% credit to all customers of Windows Azure Compute, Access Control, Service Bus and Caching for the entire affected billing months for these services, regardless of whether their service was impacted.




Microsoft corporate vice president of the server and cloud division, Bill Laing wrote in the blog post summarizing the service disruption –

“After an incident occurs, we take the time to analyze the incident and ways we can improve our engineering, operations and communications.  To learn as much as we can, we do the root cause analysis but also follow this up with an analysis of all aspects of the incident.  The three truths of cloud computing are: hardware fails, software has bugs and people make mistakes.  Our job is to mitigate all of these unpredictable issues to provide a robust service for our customers.”

In the detailed post mortem, he explained that Windows Azure was attempting to use an invalid date, Feb 29, 2013 as part of a system verification process which was the main root cause. The bug was discovered on Feb 28 afternoon about 75 min after it started causing problems and Azure was shut down. The entire system was back online by 2:15 AM on March 1.

Additionally, Microsoft also reduced the pricing structure. In another blog post, the pay-as-you-go pricing, 6 month plans, extra small compute pricing has been reduced as below:

“Windows Azure Storage Pay-As-You-Go pricing has been reduced by 12% ($0.14 to $0.125)
6 Month Plans for Windows Azure Storage have been reduced across all tiers by up to 14%
Windows Azure Extra Small Compute has been reduced by  50% ($.04 to .$02)”

[Source 1, Source 2]