Sign up to the Office 365 maintenance feed to stay abreast of planned interruptions.
As subscribers of cloud services we no longer have control over when updates or maintenance are performed on the systems we use.
On one hand this is a great thing because we no longer have to perform backups, prepare rollback strategies, perform testing and have escalation contacts ready if something were to go wrong. Not to mention the spike in costs and impact to business performance during the maintenance period.
On the other hand we don’t have the option of specifying when updates and maintenance will occur or scheduling them around our business hours. This is realistically the only inconvenience that we cloud users experience but when you compare it to the work that has been taken away from us I believe the customer definitely comes out on top.
So the question still remains – how do we know when maintenance is scheduled to occur on the various systems that make up Office 365? (And trust me, there is a plethora in the back-end that we never know about.)
Up until recently the only way to find out what maintenance was scheduled was to visit the Planned Maintenance section of the Office 365 administration portal. As an IT manager or systems administrator perhaps it would be acceptable to visit this page on a regular basis.
However, businesses’ approach to cloud systems is typically “set and forget”, meaning that nobody would check it. Potentially this meant that a user could try to access an Office 365 feature at night or on a weekend and hit a brick wall.
Now Office 365 administrators and even non-technical users are able to subscribe to an RSS feed that displays planned maintenance and receive a link to the full post about the event. I’ve highlighted the RSS symbol in the screenshot above with a red arrow.
The RSS feed can be added to your favourites in your RSS viewer (in my case Outlook 2010) to keep up to date with the Office 365 maintenance that may impact my business.
All in all a great way to have peace of mind that our cloud environment is being looked after for us.
Loryan Strant is a Microsoft Office 365 MVP (Most Valuable Professional). Follow him on Twitter @TheCloudMouth.