Melbourne IT user portal downed by Office Live migrations

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Melbourne IT user portal downed by Office Live migrations

Melbourne IT customers have been unable to access its self-service portal intermittently this week after the provider was flooded by last-minute migrations off Microsoft’s Office Live Small Business service.

Microsoft previously offered its Office Live customers web hosting and cloud-based email, with “customised web addresses” from Melbourne IT.

The service – available in North America, France, Germany, India, Japan and Britain – was discontinued on May 1 in favour of Microsoft’s latest software-as-a-service suite, Office 365. The service was not available to Australian users.

Although the change came into effect this week, it was announced 18 months ago, with some 285,000 Office Live Small Business customers reminded to move to Office 365 or an alternative host in February.

A Melbourne IT spokesman said demand for phone support and its web-based domain management tool had increased significantly in the past month as a result of the imminent closure of the service.

“Customers have had some time to move across; however, a lot of people have left it to the end,” he said, noting that the registrar had received 12,000 support calls per week in April, compared to 2000 calls a week usually.

“A domain transfer process can be quite complex ... In the past three to four months, we’ve had extremely high volumes.”

The spokesman said that Melbourne IT had prepared for the increased load by doubling its contact centre agents and adding an unspecified number of servers to support its My Account self-service website.

However, he said “a piece of third party code” had initially prevented the website from utilising the additional web server capacity.

Melbourne IT said the issue was rectified by 8.30am on Tuesday, although sources said customers continued to face difficulties on Wednesday morning.

Melbourne IT expected similar issues to have affected other international domain registrars in recent weeks.

However, Australian webhosts Netregistry and UberGlobal reported no increase in customer service load in the period.

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