Microsoft has seen a 775% increase in the use of its cloud services in Italy in a single month, which has an isolation order to fight the coronavirus outbreak.
Worldwide, Microsoft Teams alone has been helping 44 million users a day generate some 900 million ‘meeting’ and calling minutes, as reported by Forbes.
This includes much of the USA, Canada, UK and other Western nations as well as India and China since 20 March. Since that date, 58% of US-based knowledge workers are remote, slashing commutes as well.
Microsoft is not the only company to see a silver lining – Forbes also notes that Slack may have added 9,000 new customers, achieving more than 12.5 million simultaneously connected users over a similar timeframe.
“In addition, Microsoft is adding new capacity as quickly as possible,” writes analyst John Koetsier for Forbes.
Meanwhile, the vendor also continued with a launch of Teams to consumers and announced new personal and family plans on 30 March, according to TechCrunch.
Jared Spataro, corporate VP for Microsoft 365, details its cloud services continuity in a blog post, which can be read in full here.
“With so many of our customers moving to full-time remote work and relying on our cloud services to do so, they want to hear what measures we are taking to help ensure business continuity at this critical time,” Spataro said.
“In response to health authorities emphasising the importance of social distancing, we’ve seen usage increases in services that support these scenarios—including Microsoft Teams, Windows Virtual Desktop, and Power BI.”
Microsoft is working to adapt to “unprecedented usage” while supporting critical customer scenarios around Azure, Microsoft 365 and Xbox Live, he said.
Priorities and disruptions?
However, Spataro wrote that Microsoft would prioritise monitoring for first responders and emergency services, as well as health management applications and record systems. As a result, it has announced temporary restrictions on some other users.
“We have placed limits on free offers to prioritise 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,” Spataro wrote.
So far, there had been no “significant” service disruptions, he added, although demand in regions including Europe North, Europe West, UK South, France Central, Asia East, India South and Brazil South had seen some compute resource types drop below 99.99% success rates.
“We are expediting the addition of significant new capacity that will be available in the weeks ahead. Concurrently, we monitor support requests and, if needed, encourage customers to consider alternative regions or alternative resource types, depending on their timeline and requirements,” Spataro said.
Around Teams, Microsoft has also made a few “temporary adjustments” to select non-essential capabilities such as checking for user presence and video resolution.
Microsoft is in discussions with ISPs worldwide about capacity, and continues to monitor Xbox Live for the strain it is placing on overall Azure capacity.
Editor’s note: This article has been revised in line with a corrected version of Microsoft’s 28 March Azure blog update.