Microsoft’s cloud services have seen a 775% increase in demand due to a sharp increase in the number of nations imposing social distancing rules upon their citizens.
The service most adversely affected by the social distancing rules is Microsoft Teams, which has recently reached 44 million daily active users. Microsoft says that those users are generating over 900 million meeting and calling minutes on Teams daily in a single week. This could continue to increase in the coming weeks as more people work from home.
Microsoft Teams isn’t the only service that is being hammered, however. Microsoft is also reporting that Windows Virtual Desktop has seen three times the normal usage, while Government use of public Power BI to share COVID-19 dashboards with citizens has surged by 42% in a week.
Due to the increase in demand, Microsoft has confirmed that it will be placing some temporary restrictions on Azure. This includes limits on free offers to prioritise capacity for existing customers, as well as limits on certain resources for new subscriptions. Thankfully, these are ‘soft’ quota limits, and customers can raise support requests to increase these limits. If requests cannot be met immediately, Microsoft is recommending that customers use alternative regions that may have less demand surge. To manage surges in demand, the company will expedite the creation of new capacity in the appropriate region.
Despite the significant increase in demand, Microsoft has stated that it has not had any significant service disruptions. However, it’s becoming almost a weekly routine of people reporting outages on Microsoft Teams as home-based workers log on en masse on a Monday morning. Microsoft says that while there hasn’t been any significant service disruptions, demand in some regions (Europe North, Europe West, UK South, France Central, Asia East, India South, Brazil South) is so high that it is observing deployments for some compute resource types in these regions drop below its typical 99.99% success rates.
Although the majority of deployments still succeed, the company has put a process in place to ensure that customers that encounter repeated issues receive relevant mitigation options.
Additionally to introducing limits, Microsoft is expediting the addition of significant new capacity that will be available in the weeks ahead. Thankfully, the company has been rolling out new regions across the world rather consistently over the last few years, giving it a solid infrastructure to weather the coronavirus pandemic-induced demand.