Earlier this morning, Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) users in some regions suffered an outage. Microsoft says the issue affected customers in Australia and New Zealand. Lasting just short of three hours, the outage resulted in authentication problems for users.

Microsoft followed the outage on its Azure status webpage. Customers started reporting an error when trying to access some resources in Azure Active Directory. The error message read “AADSTS90033: A Transient error has occurred. Please try again.”

By time the situation was resolved, 2 hours and 40 minutes had passed. According to the Microsoft Azure Active Directory team, the issue was caused by request traffic volume in the specific region. The company says, “regional contention exceeded thresholds”.

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However, the problem is now fixed:

  • Preliminary Root Cause: We determined that issues with request traffic volume and regional contention exceeded thresholds and caused AAD Token requests to timeout or fail.
  • Mitigation: We have manually scaled out backend infrastructure and redistributed traffic to mitigate this issue.
  • Next Steps: Engineers will continue to investigate to establish the full root cause and prevent future occurrences.”

Recent Azure AD Changes

Last month, Microsoft made a couple of significant changes to Azure AD.

Firstly, the company announced the password limit for the service is increased to 256 characters. Previously, passwords were limited to a restrictive 16 characters. The company says account holders will still be required to form their password from a mix of lowercase, uppercase, symbols, spaces, and numbers.

Also in May, Microsoft announced Azure AD Single Sign-On (SSO) is now free and unlimited. SSO provides admins with a secure way to manage sign-ins across multiple apps with only one set of credentials. By leveraging the tools, organizations cut back on sign-in prompts and employees can sign in with one click.

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