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Week of January 24, 2001

First it was the BellSouth backbone; now it's Microsoft's own domains. The victory march continues.

In case you missed it, most Microsoft domains - including their overseas sites - were out of commission almost twenty four hours starting in the early evening of 23 January 2001. The UK site, for example, posted the following single page.

Microsoft is currently experiencing issues with its web sites: 
Microsoft.com, MSN.com, MSNBC.com, WindowsMedia.com, Encarta.com and 
Carpoint.com. Users may experience delays in being able to connect to these sites. 
Microsoft is working to resolve these issues speedily and you should try 
again later.

Microsoft apologises for any inconvenience this may have caused.


The Microsoft UK Online team.

Cute. And at 19:54 PST 24 January 2001, Microsoft posted the following at their main domain.

Microsoft Explains Site Access Issues

On Tuesday evening and Wednesday, many Microsoft customers had difficulty accessing the company's Web sites. The cause has been determined, and the issue is resolved.

At 6:30 p.m. Tuesday (PST), a Microsoft technician made a configuration change to the routers on the edge of Microsoft's Domain Name Server network. The DNS servers are used to connect domain names with numeric IP addresses (e.g. of the various servers and networks that make up Microsoft's Web presence.

The mistaken configuration change limited communication between DNS servers on the Internet and Microsoft's DNS servers. This limited communication caused many of Microsoft's sites to be unreachable (although they were actually still operational) to a large number of customers throughout last night and today.

This was an operational error, and not the result of any issue with Microsoft or third-party products nor the security of our networks. Microsoft regrets any inconvenience caused to customers due to this issue.

At approximately 5 p.m. Wednesday (PST), Microsoft removed the changes to the router configuration and immediately saw a massive improvement in the DNS network.

All sites are currently available to customers. Again, Microsoft apologizes for the inconvenience.

Question: If this was an operational error, and not the result of demonstrably incompetent Internet server software and the underlying operating system - why did a mere configuration error take twenty two hours and thirty minutes to set right again?


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