Not even LinkedIn is that keen on Microsoft's cloud: Shift to Azure abandoned

Software cons reportedly outweighed public-cloud pros

LinkedIn has abandoned its efforts to migrate its datacenter infrastructure to Microsoft Azure four years after announcing the planned move.

Citing sources familiar with the matter, CNBC reports the effort, codenamed "Blueshift," had run up against numerous challenges in the years since Microsoft acquired the professional networking site in 2016 for $27 billion.

In a statement to The Register, LinkedIn confirmed its plans to invest in its own datacenters while using Azure services where appropriate.

"This includes our running 100 employee-facing applications on Azure, leveraging Azure FrontDoor and ongoing work to consolidate our datacenter locations that are currently spread across multiple buildings under a single roof," the spokesperson said. "Azure has been crucial to support and scale collaboration and productivity for our teams to deliver value to our members."

The decision marks a reversal of LinkedIn's plans, announced in a 2019 blog post, to migrate its workloads to a public cloud. At the time Mohak Shroff, the social network's SVP of engineering, touted the move as an opportunity to better support the site's growing membership.

"With the incredible member and business growth we're seeing, we've decided to begin a multi-year migration of all LinkedIn workloads to the public cloud," he wrote. "Moving to Azure will give us access to a wide array of hardware and software innovations, and unprecedented global scale."

Over the past few years LinkedIn has deployed some services in Azure. In early 2022, the social network tapped up Azure FrontDoor, Microsoft's content delivery network, which caches commonly accessed content across a global network of edge datacenters reducing the bandwidth and access latencies required to serve users.

However, by mid-2022, CNBC reports, the cracks in LinkedIn's migration strategy were beginning to show. In a memo last summer, LinkedIn CTO Raghu Hiremagalur reportedly told employees LinkedIn was moving to a hybrid-cloud model with some services running in the cloud and others in the company's dedicated datacenters.

As it turned out, while Azure's scale may have presented a tantalizing opportunity at first blush, LinkedIn was having a hard time taking advantage of the cloud provider's software. Sources told CNBC that issues arose when LinkedIn attempted to lift and shift its existing software tools to Azure rather than refactor them to run on the cloud provider's ready made tools. ®

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