Catastrophic Outage Response
Applies to: Office 365
Topic Last Modified: 2015-02-02
Microsoft analyzes each outage that impacts Office 365 Dedicated service availability to determine the scope of the incident and possible solutions. Outages that cause work stoppage in your organization might be considered catastrophic outages. In the event of a catastrophic outage, the Microsoft incident management team contacts you via email or uses the approved communication methods established with your organization. Status updates are provided to you every hour for the particular incident. A phone call is also made to an agreed-on telephone number so that Microsoft can inform your service desk of the incident.
In addition, a Microsoft Critical Situation (CritSit) Manager helps ensure that outage notifications are received by your executive contacts. This requires that you provide the most current contact information for these executives to the service delivery manager (SDM) assigned to your organization. Initial contact with the executive contacts is made by phone within 60 minutes of the outage being declared. Additional follow-up frequency will be set and agreed upon by the executive contact and CritSit Manager.
Microsoft requires disaster Declaration Authority contacts who are contacted if a disaster declaration is enacted. These contacts are typically executive-level personnel with decision making authority over Office 365 Dedicated licensed service(s). Microsoft Declaration Authority contacts reach out to customer Declaration Authority contacts should an incident reach a severity where failover is considered.
Exchange 2010 (Aruna architecture), Blackberry, SharePoint, and Lync
An outage may be declared a disaster if it's classified as a catastrophic event based on the severity scale shown in the Incident Classification section. Declaration of a disaster doesn't automatically result in failover to your secondary Microsoft data center site. The decision to failover to the secondary data center is made by mutual agreement between Microsoft and your organization—except in cases of “force majeure” when Microsoft will proceed with the failover. In these instances, Microsoft informs you of the failover as quickly as possible after addressing the disaster.
The following figure illustrates the Microsoft response to a catastrophic service outage.
Exchange 2010 (ANSI-D architecture) and Exchange 2013 (ANSI-D architecture)
An outage can be declared a disaster if it's classified as a catastrophic event based on the severity scale shown in the Incident Classification section. Declaration of a disaster doesn't automatically result in failover. The ANSI (Application and Network Seamlessly Integrated)-D architecture is an active design that provides continuous and automated replication across a minimum of four data centers. Microsoft reserves the right to failover to one of these data centers at any time (including during catastrophic incidents) in order to minimize customer impact. As a result, a mutual decision between Microsoft and your organization to invoke a failover isn't necessary. Should a catastrophic incident occur, Microsoft informs you as quickly as possible after addressing the disaster.
Provide contact information. Provide appropriate personnel email addresses (group distribution lists are recommended) and phone numbers to your SDM so Microsoft can engage with these personnel at the time of an event. Microsoft specialists engage members of your organization and review the current status of the outage, disaster declaration criteria, and approval or disapproval (if applicable) of failing over to your secondary Office 365 Dedicated data center site.
Provide declaration support. Provide executive-level declaration authority contacts to the Microsoft Declaration Authority to help determine if failover to your secondary site is necessary.
Provide contact information. Provide you with a single email group alias and phone number so you can engage the appropriate Microsoft personnel at the time of an event. Microsoft specialists engage members of your organization and review the current status of the outage, disaster declaration criteria, and approval or disapproval (if applicable) of failing over to your secondary Office 365 Dedicated data center site.
Decide whether failover is required. Make the decision, with input from your organization, on whether to fail over to your secondary site, excluding Exchange 2010 on ANSI-D or Exchange 2013 as previously noted.