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'Azure appears to be full': UK punters complain of capacity issues on Microsoft's cloud

Bad time to request new resources, and existing ones have problems too


Customers of Microsoft's Azure cloud are reporting capacity issues such as the inability to create resources and associated reliability issues.

Outage-tracking website Down Detector shows quite a few reports about UK Azure issues today, yet the official Azure Status page is all green ticks. The inability to provision resources does not count as an outage as such – though it is more than an annoyance since it is not always feasible to create the resource in an alternative Azure region. Some types of resource have to be same region in order to work correctly without a lot of reconfiguration.

Reports of Azure outages seem mostly connected to capacity issues

Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD), a handy solution for remote workers, is one example. One user complained on Twitter that "Azure seems to be full" when trying to allocate a VM for WVD, though it appears to be a test deployment (if the name WVD-TEST-0 is anything to go by). The error reads "Allocation failed. We do not have sufficient capacity for the requested VM size in this region." The region is UK South.

"Azure appears to be full," said a user attempting a Windows Virtual Desktop deployment

"I can't start any of my VMs that I was using yesterday,” said another customer, and "Azure Functions not triggering reliably," said a third. Although Azure Functions is "serverless" from the user's perspective, it still requires a VM to start up for running the function, so is not immune from capacity issues. Unreliability of existing resources is perhaps a more serious problem than the inability to provision new ones.

Azure status reports all is well

The sudden increase in home working as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic means pressure on some cloud services – though you would imagine that use of others will have declined because of temporary business closures. Microsoft has said that, if faced with capacity constraints, "top priority will be going to first responders, health and emergency management services, critical government infrastructure organizational use, and ensuring remote workers stay up and running with the core functionality of Teams."

Is it possible that resource capacity allocated to Teams is affecting customers of other kinds of resource? We have asked Microsoft for any information it can share and will report back.

Note that Azure is a huge service and it would be wrong to give disproportionate weight to a small number of reports. Most of Azure seems to be working fine. That said, capacity in the UK regions was showing signs of stress even before the current crisis, so it is not surprising that issues are occurring now. ®

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Colonial Pipeline was looking to hire cybersecurity manager before ransomware attack shut down operations

Good luck to whoever got that gig

Stricken US bulk hydrocarbon conveyor Colonial Pipeline advertised for a new cybersecurity manager a month before that ransomware attack forced operators to shut down the pipeline as a pre-emptive safety measure.

The job advert came to light in the wake of the ransomware attack, which shut down one of America's largest pipelines on Friday 7 May.

"Employees find exciting opportunities to grow and develop their careers at a stable company which offers a generous compensation and benefits package that includes annual incentive bonuses, retirement plans, insurance coverage and a host of other features that support a happy, active, productive and rewarding life," says the advertisement (also available here).

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James Webb Space Telescope runs one last dress rehearsal for its massive golden mirrors before heading to launchpad

A few final tests then it's bags packed for French Guiana – and about time too

ESA, CSA and NASA's James Webb Telescope opened its giant primary mirror one last time on Earth ahead of being packed up for long awaited launch later this year.

The 6.5m structure, comprised of 18 hexagonal mirrors, was commanded from the Northrop Grumman testing control room in California to expand and lock itself into place in the same way it will in space. The only difference will be the addition of some equipment to simulate the gravity (or lack thereof) of where it will spend its operational life.

The test is the team's final checkpoint in a series of qualifications aimed at ensuring the telescope and its multitude of parts (including the 132 actuators and motors used to deploy and focus the mirrors) will withstand the rigours of launch and a lengthy mission near the Earth-Sun L2 Lagrange point.

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Man paralyzed from neck down uses AI brain implants to write out text messages

Read my blips

Video A combination of brain implants and a neural network helped a 65-year-old man paralyzed from the neck down type out text messages on a computer at 90 characters per minute, faster than any other known brain-machine interface.

The patient, referred to as T5 in a research paper published [preprint] in Nature on Wednesday, is the first person to test the technology, which was developed by a team of researchers led by America's Stanford University.

Two widgets were attached to the surface of T5’s brain; the devices featured hundreds of fine electrodes that penetrated about a millimetre into the patient’s gray matter. The test subject was then asked to imagine writing out 572 sentences over the course of three days. These text passages contained all the letters of the alphabet as well as punctuation marks. T5 was asked to represent spaces in between words using the greater than symbol, >.

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Oops, says Manchester City Council after thousands of number plates exposed in parking ticket spreadsheet

They are personal data, you know. Wait – you did know that, right?

Exclusive Manchester City Council exposed online the number plates of more than 60,000 cars slapped with parking tickets, breaking data protection laws as it did so.

In what appears to be a sincere if misguided attempt to provide public accountability over parking wardens, the council publishes income from parking tickets online in the open data section of its website.

One Register reader, however, spotted a problem: in three of the 20,000-row spreadsheets, published every month between 2018 and early 2021, drivers' number plates were detailed alongside precisely where and when they were hit with parking tickets and which parking warden issued them.

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'Biggest data grab' in NHS history stuffs GP records in a central store for 'research' – and the time to opt out is now

'More data, more breadth, more depth... it's the whole f&*king deal'

The NHS is preparing for the "biggest data grab" in the history of the service, giving patients little information or warning about the planned transfer of medical records from GP surgeries in England to a central store for research purposes – and with no prospect of the data being deleted.

Campaigners and doctors have expressed alarm that such a wide-ranging data haul is in the offing when health services and patients are still swamped by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, with little time to focus on the details of data privacy.

The 55 million citizens of England will need to opt out of the involuntary scheme before it is introduced to prevent the entire history of their GP visits being slurped, campaigners told us. The opt-out forms are here. We understand you will need to give this form to your GP practice before 23 June.

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Rust 2021 edition to arrive in October with 'more consistent panic' and other new features

Also: Why Rust in Android will use the Soong build system, not Cargo

The Rust 2021 Edition Working Group has scheduled the new version for release in October, with what it says are small changes that amount to a significant improvement.

This is the "third edition of the Rust language," said Mara Bos, founder and CTO of Fusion Engineering and a Rust Library Team member. The previous editions are Rust 2015 and Rust 2018.

"Edition" is a special concept in Rust, as explained here. Updates to Rust ship frequently, but the special feature of an edition is that it can include incompatible changes. A crate (Rust term for a library) has to be explicitly configured to support an edition so older code will continue to work correctly. The Rust compiler can link crates of any edition.

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Does AI have to disrupt everything you know about running a data center?

The optimal intelligent model could be disaggregation

Sponsored Over the last two decades, enterprises have gotten datacenter management down to a fine art. Standardization and automation means improved efficiency, both in terms of raw compute and of power consumption. Technologies such as virtualization and containerization mean users and developers can make more efficient use of resources, to the point of enabling self-service deployment.

However, the general purpose x86 architectures that fuel modern datacenters are simply not appropriate for running AI workloads. AI researchers got round this by repurposing GPU technology to accelerate AI operations, and this is what has fuelled the breakneck innovation in machine learning over the last decade or so.

However, this presents a problem for enterprises that want to run AI workloads. Typically, the CPU host plus accelerator approach has meant buying a single box that integrates GPUs and x86-based host compute. This can start alarm bells ringing for enterprise infrastructure teams. Although such systems may theoretically be plug and play, they can take up a lot of rack space and may impose different power and cooling requirements to mainstream compute. They can also be inflexible, with the ratio of compute to GPU accelerator being fixed, limiting flexibility when juggling multiple workloads with different host compute requirements.

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Japan to start stamping out rubber stamps and tearing up faxes as new digital agency given Sept. 1 start date

'My Number' identifier to become central to myriad government services if the plan works

Japan has passed laws that will allow it to create a new Agency to lead a national digital transformation effort.

The nation has already introduced an identifier called “My Number”. The new plan calls for My Number to be recognised across national and local governments and to merge with other identifiers like health insurance numbers and drivers’ licences. Japanese central and local governments plan to eventually harmonise their back-office technology to make it easier to deliver digital services that draw on personal information attached to a My Number profile.

My Number is currently card-based. Laws passed yesterday will allow it to be stored in an app, and smartphones used to identify citizens as they access services.

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Google Docs users, you are on notice: Code rewrite may break browser extensions

HTML and CSS? What is this, 2003?

Analysis Over the next few months, Google plans to change the way its online word processor Docs renders its pages in web browsers, and collateral damage is expected.

In a blog post on Tuesday, the Chocolate Factory said it plans to move Docs from HTML-based rendering to Canvas-based rendering "to improve performance and improve consistency in how content appears across different platforms."

In so doing, there may be casualties. Chrome extensions that interact with Google Docs, for example, may break.

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Microsoft bins Azure Blockchain without explanation, gives users four months to move

Says picking a replacement is your next step. Seriously, that’s Redmond's first piece of advice. Eventually it recommends Quorum

Microsoft has announced the imminent death of its Azure Blockchain service.

A support document dated May 10 delivered the news as follows:

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India’s vaccination-booking API criticised for excluding millions, containing bugs, and overflowing with elitism

It’s faulty, struggling to scale, lacks a dedicated privacy policy

As India struggles to cope with its savage second wave of COVID-19 infections, its government is being criticised for an API that critics say is creating inequities in the nation’s vaccination program.

The API in question, Co-WIN, is designed to tap India’s vaccination-booking service and has been made available to third-party app developers in the hope that innovators find clever ways to get Indians signed up for their jabs.

India has made use of vaccination booking services powered by Co-WIN compulsory for people aged 18 to 44.

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