March 31, 2020 Partners with Customers to Answer the 503 Alarm Bell

Solidarity in Time of Crisis

Desperate times call for desperate measures. At the time of posting, most of us will be working from home, ‘sheltering in place,’ or ‘self-quarantining’ or simply trying to stay safe from the COVID-19 virus pandemic. And it’s not just workers who need to get used to working from the kitchen table or huddling with colleagues several times a day via Microsoft Teams or Zoom. The change in Internet traffic patterns is also wreaking havoc on service providers. Case in point; both YouTube and Netflix are temporarily reducing video quality around the world to reduce network traffic that is growing faster than the number of infected Corona victims. Internet traffic is increasing because as people work from home, traffic patterns are vastly different than during normal times. And it’s not just YouTube and Netflix experiencing problems, it’s also e-learning and collaboration services, like Microsoft Teams. In fact, Teams experienced outages in Europe a few weeks ago. Even with Teams back up and running, customers, primarily in Europe, have been experiencing “503 Server is busy” errors due to stressed resources.

A number of customers in Europe who were experiencing 503 errors reached out to the Support Team with an urgent request for help. As more and more people were working from home, the load on Office 365 servers increased and more and more users were experiencing the “503 Server is busy” error and couldn’t access their documents and emails residing on SharePoint.

As enables knowledge workers to access SharePoint documents and Teams conversations directly from Outlook, where they already spend their worktime, the ability to continue working at home like in the office is key to being productive. So, when folks started experiencing 503 errors, their frustration skyrocketed as their productivity plummeted.

Not to worry. The team was on the case. Members of the response team, working from the safety of their own homes, diagnosed the problem and quickly devised a resolution. However, it was impossible to recreate the overload on Office 365 servers from labs, as the 503 error only occurred in Europe. The QA team suggested to partner with customers to work together to test and validate the fix. Working hand in glove with our customers during these difficult times, the fix was quickly tested, validated and released to our European installed base. Within a few days of receiving the initial support request, customers were back in full swing.

Gratified customers were quick to weigh in.

“We were happily surprised by’s quick resolution to the 503 error we experienced when accessing SharePoint Online. Especially in these challenging times of working from home, we appreciate our partnership with to create a productive work environment.”

D.W. ,IT Supporter, Large Construction Company

“In these difficult times of remote working, we sometimes experience unconventional challenges. One of them was a 503 error when trying to access SharePoint Online. When we notified the Support Team, the response was quick. Working together with, we had a resolution within days and we were back up and running. It is during times like this that we truly appreciate our partnership with

S.H., European Scientific Research Organization

“We received a quick resolution to the 503 error we experienced when accessing SharePoint Online. Working with, we were able to solve this problem quickly and get back to work.”

James Azzopardi, PwC

This experience demonstrates the partnership that exists between and our customers. In these difficult times, we can work together and help each other create the most productive and safe environment possible. To this end, next week we are hosting a webinar entitled Strategies for Remote Working with Microsoft Teams. Register here.

If you are experiencing the 503 problem with SharePoint, you can get the fix from Support; it will also be built into the upcoming 8.1 release, which will be available in mid-April 2020.

In difficult, as in normal times, the team is here to support you.

Stay productive and stay safe!

Join us on Tuesday, April 7 2020, for our webinar: Strategies for Remote Working with Microsoft Teams

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