Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, Microsoft has been consistently tweaking Azure cloud capacity to keep up with the demand of stay-at-home workers. While some countries are emerging from the crisis, many are still locked in the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic
This week, Microsoft offered an update on how it is handling Azure cloud capacity. As usual, the focus is on how the company manages demand for Microsoft Teams, which is based on Azure. Microsoft workplace collaboration/video communication platform has seen a significant rise in users during COVID-19.
From a daily active userbase of around 20 million, Microsoft Teams usage has soared to over 75 million. Even that figure comes from Microsoft's financial announcement last month. It is reasonable to presume Teams use has continued to rise since then.
Either way, the jump in users obviously put a greater load on the cloud base. Microsoft spoke in April about how it was adjusting capacity for some services and reducing for others based on importance.
“Teams went from a service that was cool and convenient and something that people realized was the future of communication to very quickly becoming a mission critical, can't-live-without-it sort of thing,” said Mark Longton, a principal group program manager for Microsoft Teams. “Really what this did was accelerate us into the future.”
In an update this week, Microsoft says employees in its datacenters have been putting in long shifts to ensure new servers are installed and running. Of course, the company points out these round-the-clock shifts observed distancing guidelines of six feet.
According to the company, a priority was put on adding servers to the regions most affected by COVID-19. Furthermore, Microsoft doubled the capacity of one of its undersea cables that runs under the Atlantic. Microsoft also “negotiated with owners of another to open up additional capacity.”
The United States and Europe were two of the worst hit regions. Microsoft tripled deployment capacity through its America Europe Connect cable.