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Microsoft cops to 775% Azure surge, quotas on resources and 'significant new capacity' coming ASAP

Admits ongoing provisioning problems but insists no capacity crunch even as it drops freebies

Updated Microsoft has revealed "a 775 per cent increase of our cloud services in regions that have enforced social distancing or shelter in place orders" and is "expediting the addition of significant new capacity that will be available in the weeks ahead", but has already imposed some quotas to cope with huge demand for its cloud.

The software giant revealed the statistic over the weekend in a post titled "Update #2 on Microsoft cloud services continuity," which outlined the Azure wing's plans to keep its cloud and customers humming during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Azure is certainly busy at present. The post also revealed the following data:

  • There has been a significant spike in Teams usage, with 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 per cent in a week

All that Azure usage appears to have led to users in many regions "observing deployments for some compute resource types in these regions drop below our typical 99.99 per cent success rates". Which goes a long way towards explaining the inability to create resources as The Register revealed last week.

"We are expediting the addition of significant new capacity that will be available in the weeks ahead," the post continued. "Concurrently, we monitor support requests and, if needed, encourage customers to consider alternative regions or alternative resource types, depending on their timeline and requirements. If the implementation of these efforts to alleviate demand is not sufficient, customers may experience intermittent deployment related issues. When this does happen, impacted customers will be informed via Azure Service Health."

The post seems very much designed to reassure customers that Microsoft is not going to run out of cloud any time soon, but also reveals "a few temporary restrictions designed to balance the best possible experience for all of our customers".

"We have placed limits on free offers to prioritize capacity for existing customers," the post said, adding: "We also have limits on certain resources for new subscriptions. These are 'soft' quota limits, and customers can raise support requests to increase these limits. If requests cannot be met immediately, we recommend customers use alternative regions (of our 54 live regions) that may have less demand surge."

Also detailed are steps taken to keep Teams playing nicely, which Microsoft has styled as "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".

The company also restated the guidance it offered last week to the effect that first responders and health efforts will go to the front of the queue for Teams support. ®

Updated to add

Microsoft has clarified its cloud surge claim, and it's now much less exciting: "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."

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