Microsoft places restrictions on Azure as demand increases by 775%

Microsoft has said there has been 775% increase of cloud services in regions that have enforced social distancing, and it has placed restrictions on customers to ensure performance.

The cloud companies, all segments, are set to profit from the coronavirus outbreak thanks to companies being forced to embrace remote working and mobility. With more employees operating outside the office, more workloads will have to be migrated to the cloud to ensure work can be completed. Although this is an attractive dynamic for the cloud companies, there are of course limits.

“We’re implementing a few temporary restrictions designed to balance the best possible experience for all of our customers,” Jared Spataro, Corporate VP for Microsoft 365 wrote in a blog entry.

“We have placed limits on free offers to prioritize capacity for existing customers. 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. To manage surges in demand, we will expedite the creation of new capacity in the appropriate region.”

Limiting performance is one way to irritate customers but considering the circumstances Microsoft will have little other option. The firm has said it will prioritise the activities of some customers however, those being as you would expect:

  • First responders
  • Emergency routing and reporting applications
  • Medical supply management and delivery systems
  • Emergency alert applications
  • Health-bots, health screening applications, and websites
  • Health management applications and record systems

The biggest surges for the Azure product have been in Western Europe, South East Asia and Brazil, though perhaps it should be scaling operations in the US in preparation for dramatic increase.

Across the US, numerous States have declared a state of major disaster which have been signed by President Donald Trump. In the first instance, this appears to be a bureaucratic procedure which would allow access to federal funding, but it could also be the first step towards more stringent self-isolation measures. This is not commonplace across the US for the moment, but with COVID-19 spreading rapidly across the country, it most likely will be in a short period of time.

Worldwide, Microsoft is attempting to scale-up activities to meet the demand, and while it might have to irritate some customers with restrictions in the immediate future, there will be rewards in the future. Some companies will return to normal-service post-coronavirus, though these digital transformation projects to enable remote working and mobility might well bed in for the majority.

Almost every company has been talking up its own digital transformation project for years, and while events today might have accelerated adoption of the laggards, the cloud companies will certainly benefit in a sustained manner for the long-term.

Public cloud gathering momentum in India – Gartner

Few countries are speeding towards the digital economy as quickly as India, and it seems the bug is catching as enterprise organizations start to surge spending on the public cloud.

Today’s India is almost unrecognisable from bygone years. With a renewed focus on digital from Government and regulatory agencies, telcos finally spending on networks and consumers demonstrating an incredible appetite for data, India is quickly closing the divide. An increase in public cloud spending only adds further confidence in progress.

“Moving to the cloud and investing in public cloud services have become imperative to the success of digital business initiatives,” said Gartner Analyst Sid Nag.

“It’s no longer a question of ‘why’, but a matter of ‘when’ organizations can shift to the cloud. We have entered the cloud 2.0 era, where organizations are adopting a cloud-first or a cloud-only strategy.”

Those who are of a certain age will remember the excitement which was drummed up around the ‘BRIC’ nations. The acronym described the economic potential of slumbering giants (Brazil, Russia, India and China), four countries with large population that were supposed to be the growth engines for international businesses around the world after growth in domestic markets slowed.

China certainly offered fortunes for those who were strategically savvy enough, while there has been some promise in Russia and Brazil. India was always the nation which undermined the BRICs theory, though it is quickly entering its own digital era.

According to Gartner estimates, public cloud investment from enterprise organisation will increase by 25% over the next 12 months. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) remains the largest segment, representing 42% of all investments, though this is the same journey many ‘developed’ nations took in bygone years. The team estimates SaaS cloud application services will total $1.4 billion over the next 12 months, an increase of 21%.

Segment 2018 2019 2020
Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) 284 363 461
Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) 900 1,105 1,364
Business-Process-as-a-Service (BPaaS) 172 189 212
Cloud management and security 187 228 274
Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) 558 744 996

Figures in millions (US$)

As you can see from the figures above, spending has been steadily increasing year-on-year, though considering the size of India as a country, the potential is significant. However, there might be a challenge on the horizon unless all the cogs click into place.

CIOs across the market are suggesting there could be consolidation in the market as smaller players are replaced by the global power houses of the cloud economy, however with such potential money will have to be spent to ensure the digital infrastructure is in place.

This is where India has traditionally struggled. It was a ‘chicken and egg’ situation, with low ROI discouraging infrastructure investment, though inadequate infrastructure seemed to hobble potential profits. This conundrum does seem to be in the past, though there is still plenty of work to do to increase the data centre footprint, as well as ‘fibering up’ the nation to take advantage of future applications, both consumer and enterprise.

Amazon Web Services announced in May it would open a new Availability Zone in the AWS Asia Pacific (Mumbai) region due to customer demand, Microsoft Azure currently has three Availability Zones in the country and has partnered with Reliance Jio to boost its presence, Google is currently hiring very aggressively in the country, while IBM recently said it was focusing more acutely on SMEs to gain traction.

India still does not compete with the top nations around the world when it comes to digital readiness, but all the pieces do seem to be falling into place. Increased investments in public cloud services and infrastructure is more evidence this country is flying towards the digital economy.