Azure Active Directory now offers a 99,99% uptime SLA

As announced by Nadim Abdo on December 18th, 2020, Azure Active Directory has an updated public service level agreement (SLA) to promise 99.99% uptime per April 1st, 2021.


April Fools' joke?

I deliberately didn’t share this news on April 1st, 2021, to make sure that people didn’t see the blogpost as an April Fools’ Day joke. After last months Azure AD outage, it doesn’t seem like the best moment to make this change, but the Azure AD engineering team is confident that these outages are a thing of the past.


What the updated SLA means to you

When looking at the updated Azure AD service level agreement (version 1.1), the following changes appear:


Uptime guarantee

The tiers for service credits have changed to reflect the 99,99% uptime guarantee.

In March 2021, the 45-minute outage referred to as LN01-P8Z by Microsoft, resulted in a 25% service credit (that organizations can claim until May 31st, 2021). If a similar outage would occur under the new uptime guarantee, this outage would result in the same service credit.

However, if an outage would occur in the context of the new SLA that would impact organizations for anything between five and forty-three minutes, the new SLA provides a 10% service credit. The old SLA would not provide any service credit.


Definition update

Another noteworthy change is the new definition of Azure AD for the public service level agreement (SLA): It merely includes user authentication and federation.

In version 1.0 of the SLA (dated June 2015), downtime is defined as:

Any period of time when users are not able to log in to the service, log in to the Access Panel, access applications on the Access Panel and reset passwords; or any period of time IT administrators are not able to create, read, write and delete entries in the directory and/or provision/de-provision users to applications in the directory.

In version 1.1 of the SLA (dated April 2021), downtime is defined as:

Any period of time when users are unable to log in to the Azure Active Directory service or Azure Active Directory fails to successfully emit the authentication and authorization tokens required for users to log into applications connected to the service.

In the new SLA, administrative features have been removed from the wording for downtime. It no longer includes:

  1. Users being unable to sign in to the Access Panel
  2. Users being unable to access applications on the Access Panel
  3. Users being unable to reset passwords
  4. Admins being unable to create, read, write and delete entries in the directory
  5. Admins being unable to provision and/or de-provision users to applications in the directory

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