Dodgy Microsoft Azure update knocks Ubuntu VMs offline

(Image credit: Canonical)

Microsoft Azure virtual machines (VMs) running the Linux distro Ubuntu 18.04, have been taken offline by a serious outage.

According to a statement from Microsoft, the issues began after Ubuntu 18.04 (bionic) VM users installed an update called "systemd version 237-3ubuntu10.54".

After installing the update, the impacted users began experiencing domain name system (DNS) errors.

Will this affect me?

Microsoft says the issue, which now appears to have been fixed was confined to this single Ubuntu version, however there was additional downstream impact on Azure services that leverage Ubuntu 18.04 (bionic) VMs including Azure Container Apps, Azure Database for PostgreSQL Azure Kubernetes Service, and Azure VMware Solution.

Ubuntu parent company Canonical did acknowledge the bug contained within the update, suggesting several fixes, however, it didn't mention the resulting Azure outagea. 

Dr. Nestori Syynimaa, a Senior Principal Security Researcher at Secureworks commented on the incident in a Twitter post, saying: "These things happen all the time and will happen as long people are using technology." 

He added: "Not on this scale that often though".

Outages on Azure can be extremely disruptive for organizations, as they form an important part of the critical operations of many organizations worldwide.

Taking steps to remedy this, Microsoft has announced that it will extend its “outage mode” in Azure for both web-based and desktop applications.

This means that if Azure Active Directory fails, the service will transition to “outage mode” where it can check requests and provide tokens, ensuring business continuity.

  • Interested in an alternative to Microsoft Azure? Checkout our guide to the best servers.

Will McCurdy has been writing about technology for over five years. He has a wide range of specialities including cybersecurity, fintech, cryptocurrencies, blockchain, cloud computing, payments, artificial intelligence, retail technology, and venture capital investment. He has previously written for AltFi, FStech, Retail Systems, and National Technology News and is an experienced podcast and webinar host, as well as an avid long-form feature writer.