Microsoft's Azure cloud infrastructure and development service experienced a serious outage on Wednesday, with the system's service management component going down worldwide starting at 1:45 a.m. GMT.
"We are experiencing an issue with Windows Azure service management. Customers will not be able to carry out service management operations," Microsoft said in an initial message on the outage on its Azure service dashboard.
The issue has been "mitigated and service management is restored for the majority of customers," Microsoft said in a message posted at 1:30 p.m. GMT. "We still need to work through some issues before we can completely restore service management."
The incident's root cause "has been traced back to a cert issue triggered on 2/29/2012 GMT," according to Microsoft.
At 5 a.m. GMT, Microsoft said less than 3.8 percent of hosted services had been affected, and measures had been taken to stop the problem "from spreading across the production environment."
In addition, Azure customers in the north and south central US as well as northern Europe may be experiencing some performance problems, according to a message on the dashboard posted at 10:55 a.m. GMT.
"Incoming traffic may not go through for a subset of hosted services in this sub-region," it stated. "Deployed applications will continue to run. There is no impact to storage accounts either."
At 1:30 p.m. GMT, Microsoft said it was "still troubleshooting" the issues affecting these regions.
This is far from the first outage to hit Azure since its launch in late 2009. Rival offerings such as Amazon Web Services have experienced their own share of uptime issues as well.