When Microsoft wants to stress test a Microsoft Azure node, there are several ways the company can do it. For Azure CTO Mark Russinovich, there are some perks to leading Microsoft’s cloud platform. For the executive, a stress test involves playing Tetris.

Russinovich was stress testing a 24 Terabyte Microsoft Azure node playing the classic game. This was obviously not an ordinary game of the block puzzle title. Instead, the test was using 420 virtual Xeon processors running in the Windows 10 Task Manager.

The Task Manager was serving as the display window for the game. Stress tests are designed to push Azure to its limits to see at which point the service will go down. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Microsoft has been working to ensure less downtime.

At the same time, the company is juggling a major growth in users, especially on cloud services like Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams.

Preventing Outages

During the year, the company has spoken about how it is trying to keep Azure running at optimal level. Some of those plans included prioritizing some services over others.

Microsoft has also created Azure sections for customers to discover more about outages. Microsoft is pointing admins and IT professionals to the Service Health view in the Azure Portal. Here, outage information is readily available to anybody who has “owner, contributor, or reader access.”

Russinovich said at the time he concedes problems occur but wants customers to feel more connected when outages happen.

“Service incidents like outages are an unfortunate inevitability of the technology industry. Of course, we are constantly improving the reliability of the Microsoft Azure cloud platform… In spite of these efforts, we acknowledge the unfortunate reality that—given the scale of our operations and the pace of change—we will never be able to avoid outages entirely. During these times we endeavor to be as open and transparent as possible to ensure that all impacted customers and partners understand what’s happening.”