Outages Caused Problems in 2020

The internet is a magical place. In fact, it’s so magical that I don’t think that any of us really understand how it works. Apparently, I’m not alone. Even the big guys have experienced outages throughout the year. Let’s look back at some of the biggest outages of 2020.


Microsoft Azure had a failure on March 3, 2020, that lasted more than six hours. It impacted Microsoft’s East US region and was caused by a “malfunction in building automation control caused temperatures in multiple rooms of a data center in the East US region to spike impacting Storage, Compute, Networking and other dependent services.”

This was followed up by another outage impacting European customers between March 24th and 26th. This “outage” was caused when Microsoft’s system were overwhelmed by the influx of users relying on the service due to the pandemic.

On September 28th, Microsoft experienced another service disruption followed just a few days later by another disruption on October 7th.


Google’s cloud infrastructure was also impacted around the same time as Microsoft’s trouble on March 26th. According to reports, the problem was actually caused by a router failure. It impacted services such as Gmail, YouTube, Google Drive, Nest, and many other services.

Update December 15, 2020: Google experienced an authentication problem that took down virtually all Google services (YouTube, Gmail, Google Docs, etc.)


On June 9th, IBM Cloud suffered a global outage that lasted around 3 hours. IBM said that it was caused by a third party network provider. According to an article on Bleeping Computer, the real issue was caused by a Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) route hijacking.


Cloudflare is one of the largest content delivery networks (CDN) on the internet. They experienced a major outage back on July 17th. I wrote an entire blog article about the problem.


A major interruption during the pandemic was actually one of the services we most rely on – Zoom. On August 24th, Zoom suffered an outage that affected users nationwide. Everyone has been relying on Zoom for meetings and classroom instruction.