Microsoft outlines next steps to manage increased Azure and cloud services demand

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Microsoft’s cloud is growing, and the company has stated publically that they are actively working to increase cloud capacity to keep up with the demand for their cloud services and Azure. The software giant explained that it’s currently prioritizing the needs of healthcare companies, frontline workers, and first responders to help in the battle against COVID-19, and the company is not only expanding their worldwide data center footprint but putting temporary resource limits on new Azure subscriptions.

In a new blog post on the Azure blog yesterday (via ZDNet), Microsoft provided some additional clarity around “business continuity with Azure” and described their primary focus as being in two key areas of action: Helping customers address their most urgent needs, and ensuring that Microsoft Azure continues to scale to meet new demands.

However, Microsoft has already been dealing with Azure limits well before the COVID-19 pandemic started. In early fall, multiple East US2 Azure customers were unable to launch virtual machines, and as recently as march customers in Europe encountered capacity issues including hitting SQL Server limits.

One of the key capacity issues Microsoft discusses in their blog post is around Microsoft Teams. Over the last month, Microsoft has also experienced unprecedented growth with their total user population doubling in less a month:

Last month, the surging use of Teams for remote work and education due to the pandemic crossed into unprecedented territory. Although we had seen surges in specific data center regions or wider geographies before, such as in response to natural disasters, the substantial Teams demand increase from Asia and then quickly followed in Europe indicated that we were seeing something very different, and increasingly global.

In direct response to the surge in Teams use, Microsoft took several proactive steps to manage the cloud and infrastructure demand including:

  • Optimized and load-balanced Teams architecture without interrupting the customer experience.
  • Expediting additional server capacity to the specific regions that faced constraints.
  • Approving the backlog of customer quota requests.
  • Removing restrictions for new free and benefit subscriptions in several regions.
  • Refining our Azure demand models.

While Microsoft’s continued growth in the cloud bodes well for the future of the company, it is likely the company will continue to deal with capacity issues for the foreseeable future as Teams and cloud growth accelerates.