Azure Communications is hosting an “Ask Me Anything” session!

Posted on 4 March, 2019

Senior Program Manager

Have you ever wondered where those service notifications in the Azure Portal and the Azure Status page come from? Curious why some messages appear to have more information than others? Interested in learning more about what goes into an outage statement? This is your chance to find out!

The Azure Communications team will be hosting a special "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) session on Reddit and Twitter. The Reddit session will be held on Monday, March 11th, from 10:00 AM to noon PST. Customers can participate by posting to the /r/Azure subreddit when the AMA is live. The Twitter session will follow soon after on Wednesday, March 13th, from 10:00 AM to noon PST. Be sure to follow @AzureSupport before March 13th and tweet us during the event using the hashtag #AzureCommsAMA.

Who are we?

We are among the first responders during times of crisis - the ones who draft, approve, and publish most customer-facing communications when outages happen. You've probably seen our messages on the Azure Service Health blade in the Portal, the Azure Status webpage, or even on the @AzureSupport Twitter handle. We'd like to think we bridge the gap between customers and the action happening behind the scenes.

What kind of communications do we provide?

Our communications are very crisis-oriented. When there is any kind of service interruption with the Azure platform, we are responsible for making sure our customers are provided with timely and accurate information. This includes information about outages, maintenance updates, and other good-to-know information for customers. We do not, however, manage any advertising or promotional communications.

Where do we communicate?

We have three primary channels for communicating with customers: Azure Service Health in the Portal, the Azure Status webpage, and @AzureSupport on Twitter.

Azure Service Health - Azure Service Health provides personalized guidance directly to customers when issues with the Azure platform affect their resources. Customers can review a personalized dashboard in the Portal, set up targeted notifications (email, SMS, webhook, etc.), receive support, and share details easily.

Azure Status webpage - This public-facing webpage (which does not require signing in) is only used to provide updates for major incidents or when there are known issues preventing access to Azure Service Health in the Portal. Customers should only refer to this page if they are not able to access Azure Service Health.

@AzureSupport on Twitter - In many ways, the @AzureSupport Twitter handle is a dynamic component of our communications process. Twitter allows engineering and support teams to gauge the pulse of the Azure platform through customer engagements on Twitter and act as a complementary resource to the Azure Status webpage. If necessary, @AzureSupport can even be used as a communications medium when Azure Service Health or the Azure Status webpage are not available.

Why are we hosting an AMA?

We’re going to be honest – we want there to be as little a disconnect as possible between customers and the action happening behind the scenes. An AMA provides us with an opportunity to connect with customers on a more intimate, informal level, and allows us to receive feedback directly from customers about some of the real-time decisions that are made during times of crisis. Hosting a multi-channel AMA through both Reddit and Twitter allows us to connect with a broad social community while providing customers with an experience based on transparency that is second to none.

Who will be there? How can I participate?

If you’re on Reddit, subscribe to the /r/Azure subreddit by Monday, March 11th, at 10:00 AM PST. Pochian Lee, Drey Zhuk, and others from the Azure Communications team will be answering questions on Reddit until noon. Just log in and post your questions to get started. If you’re on Twitter, be sure to follow @AzureSupport before Wednesday, March 13th. Starting at 10:00 AM PST, the team will be answering questions on Twitter until noon. Just tweet your questions to @AzureSupport during the event and be sure to include the #AzureCommsAMA hashtag so we don't miss you! While we will only be answering questions live during the event, customers are encouraged to post or tweet their questions any time starting at 10:00 AM on March 8th. This gives customers in different time zones an opportunity to participate.

Questions you may already have:

Why am I impacted and still see green on the Azure Status webpage?

The majority of our outages impact a limited subset of customers and we reach out to the impacted customers directly via the Azure Service Health blade. The Azure Status webpage provides information regarding any major impacting event that customers should be aware of on a broader scale.

Do I raise a support case during an outage?

If after looking in the Azure Service Health blade to see if you have been impacted by an outage, you find that your problem doesn’t match the impact that we’re observing, we would recommend that you create an Azure support case.

If you do not see a notification within the Azure Service Health blade and believe that there is an outage, please create an Azure support case.

If I don't see a notification in the Azure Service Health blade during an outage, should I raise a support ticket?

If you believe you are impacted by an outage, then yes!

How do I get notifications via email, SMS, etc. during an outage?

Customers can receive additional notifications via Azure Service Health and Azure Resource Health.

Azure Service Health - To get notifications during an outage, you would need to setup alerts within Azure Service Health to your preference (i.e you want to be notified for any outage affecting my virtual machines in the eastern US). Find additional information, and learn how to request notifications in this documentation.

Azure Resource Health - To get notifications based on the health of your individual resources (i.e. I want to be notified about issues for these two specific Virtual Machines), customers can configure Resource Health alerts by following the steps in this article.

If I have Service Health alerts set up, why have I not received a notification of an outage?

We try our best to inform impacted customers of an outage using our telemetry and are actively working on improving our telemetry to make sure we alert all customers that are impacted. We’ve made great progress for certain scenarios where our automated alerting is triggered from high-fidelity monitoring within our system. We’re looking to further develop this telemetry to ensure that the right customers are informed in a timely manner.

Where can I find Azure Service Health communications?

Communications can be seen within the Azure Service Health blade.

Why do I get communications so late in the Portal?

As soon as we’re able to validate customer impact and the services involved, we inform customers immediately. We’re actively working on improving our automation and telemetry to make sure customers are aware in real-time.

Why aren't these communications more visible when I log into the Portal?

We have heard this feedback before and are currently collaborating with partner teams to improve the visibility of the communications in the Azure Portal.

Be sure to subscribe to /r/Azure and follow @AzureSupport on Twitter before March 11th, 2019, in order to participate. We look forward to answering your questions live during the event!