Azure being overwhelmed by 775% surge in demand in lockdown regions

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Microsoft has revealed a spike in Azure usage as employees are working from home amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis. The company also revealed some important changes to Azure in order to cope with the demand and ensure that the service works without disruptions.

In a blog post, Microsoft confirmed that it had recorded a 775% increase in demand in regions that have enforced social distancing or shelter in place orders. Apart from that, Microsoft revealed the following stats surrounding its services:

  • We have seen a 775 percent increase of our cloud services in regions that have enforced social distancing or shelter in place orders.
  • We have seen a 775 percent increase in Teams’ calling and meeting monthly users in a one month period in Italy, where social distancing or shelter in place orders have been enforced.
  • We have seen a very significant spike in Teams usage and now have more than 44 million daily users. Those users generated over 900 million meeting and calling minutes on Teams daily in a single week.
  • Windows Virtual Desktop usage has grown more than 3x.
  • Government use of public Power BI to share COVID-19 dashboards with citizens has surged by 42 percent in a week.

Clearly, Microsoft is currently overwhelmed by the usage numbers which have spiked in the recent weeks due to the coronavirus outbreak. The rest of the post seems to be a general FAQ surrounding Microsoft’s services. The company has also assured that the surge in demand will not have a negative effect on Azure.

Despite the significant increase in demand, we have not had any significant service disruptions. As a result of the surge in use over the last week, we have experienced significant demand in some regions (Europe North, Europe West, UK South, France Central, Asia East, India South, Brazil South) and are observing deployments for some compute resource types in these regions drop below our typical 99.99 percent success rates.

– Microsoft (on service disruption)

We’re actively monitoring performance and usage trends to ensure we’re optimizing services for gamers worldwide. At the same time, we’re taking proactive steps to plan for high-usage periods, which includes taking prudent measures with our publishing partners to deliver higher-bandwidth activities like game updates during off-peak hours.

– Microsoft (on Xbox Live)

To best support our Teams customers worldwide and accommodate new growth and demand, we made a few temporary adjustments to select non-essential capabilities such as how often we check for user presence, the interval in which we show when the other party is typing, and video resolution. These adjustments do not have significant impact on our end users’ daily experiences.

– Microsoft (on Teams)

Microsoft will be providing regular updates on Azure and other services. The company has been hard at work to ensure that all the services work as intended. Microsoft recently announced some changes to Teams and Office 365 to reduce the load on the services as well as the internet. However, Microsoft is not the only company forced to take drastic actions. Last week, both YouTube and Netflix reduced their video quality to reduce strain on the internet.

Update 31/03: Microsoft has updated the blog post to clarify the rise 775% rise in Azure usage which was observed in Italy which has been under strict lockdown due to the high number of coronavirus cases.

More about the topics: azure, coronavirus, microsoft