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.

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