Microsoft is making Azure even more resilient to outages

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Outages can be extremely damaging to business operations, which is why Microsoft has announced that it will expand its “outage mode” in Azure to cover both web-based and desktop applications.

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Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) is the software giant’s cloud directory responsible for handling authentication for Office 365, although it can also be linked to on-premises Active Directory. However, when it goes down, Microsoft customers are unable to access the Azure portal to manage their cloud services.

Last year the software giant updated the SLA for Azure AD from 99.9 percent to 99.99 percent uptime and one way to be able to do this is through a backup authentication service that replicates authentication data during normal operation. If Azure AD fails due to a network interruption or other issue, the service switches to “outage mode” where it is able to investigate requests and provide tokens to clients so that they can continue to operate.

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This backup authentication service has been available in Microsoft Outlook and SharePoint Online since 2019 and now the company will expand it to all native Microsoft apps, including Office 365 and Microsoft Teams, as well as third-party and customer-owned applications that run natively on the organization’s devices. are running smoothly. ,

Better resilience to outages

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According to a new blog post from Microsoft, when a failure of the Azure AD Primary Service is detected, the Backup Authentication service is automatically attached which allows the user’s applications to continue working. However, as the primary service recovers, authentication requests are routed back to the primary Azure AD service

In normal mode, the backup service stores the required authentication data and generates session-specific data to relay successful authentication responses from Azure AD to dependent apps. This data is safely stored by the backup service for three days.

However in outage mode, any time the authentication request fails unexpectedly, Azure AD Gateway automatically routes it to a backup service. The requests are then authenticated, artifacts such as refresh tokens and session cookies are verified as valid and Azure AD looks for a strict session match in the already stored data.

While Azure AD will now be more resilient to outages, be aware that you won’t be able to log into your work apps after purchasing a new business laptop or workstation because outage mode will only work on your existing devices.

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