Oh the shame of it all! Microsoft’s worldwide cloud service, Azure, had a critical failure — and for about 12 hours the service was down. The cause? An expired Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate.
First, this was an incredibly stupid mistake. Sure, everyone can make blunders, but it’s hard to take Microsoft’s cloud offerings seriously after a misstep like this one. What makes this fiasco especially hard to take is that this is the second time Microsoft Azure has tripped over an SSL certificate problem. Last year, Microsoft had an even worse SSL-certificate-related Azure meltdown. That one was traced back to an SSL certificate that expired at the end of February… which Microsoft had renewed as of February 28th even though 2012 was a leap year and thus February’s last day was February 29th.
This one though? It wasn’t some programmer forgetting about leap day. It was just a failure to make sure that a vital SSL certificate had been kept up to date. Idiots. The certificate expired and suddenly every SSL connection to Azure storage was blocked. That, in turn, lead to one Azure service after another failing in a cascading avalanche of disaster.