Pop quiz: What’s the worst thing that could happen in the cloud? Microsoft certainly knows the answer. Especially after , melted down this past weekend. It gets better — this massive outage comes five days before Azure’s moment in the sun at this week’s Mix Online developer’s conference in Las Vegas.

Though the project is still in its infancy, I can’t help but recall last October’s steadfast reassurance from senior Microsoft platform strategist, Tim O’Brien. He not only emphatically supported the company’s ability to deliver cloud services at a broad scale, but also touted Microsoft’s smooth and lengthy history of managing data center operations. It wasn’t necessarily a false representation; however, it didn’t exactly pay credence to the occasionally fragile nature of the cloud.

As the umpteenth cloud to recently fall out of the sky, I’m convinced that mini-failures like Azure’s are always going to be a part of centralized processing and storage. Time has shown that it’s rarely a question of if computing at this scale breaks down so much as when. So, it’s puzzling when purveyors of the cloud sidestep transparency while addressing failures like a (largely inevitable) crash.

So far, Redmond’s reaction to the Azure outage has been a bit of a mixed bag. Details are a little sketchy as to the cause, but according to reports Azure went dark for nearly 24 hours spanning a Friday/Saturday stretch. Microsoft has since solved the problem, albeit after a period of confusion, and with a little egg on its face. But here’s the rub — though Microsoft’s customers were likely frustrated and panicked, it’s likely that they still value doing business in the cloud. As early adopters they’re used to risk, so there really isn’t a need to hide a somewhat embarrassing (but largely predictable) truth.

Over the course of the last year I’ve seen outages at cloud services from Google, Amazon, Flexiscale, and now Microsoft; so, it’s clear that no one is immune. But let’s be honest — some people have handled these situations better than others. I can only hope that Microsoft has learned a valuable lesson from Azure’s first real crash, and that they’re better prepared when the cloud goes dark again.