- In a note to customer published on Thursday, Microsoft acknowledge struggles with its cloud business
- The company said a surge in users during the coronavirus crisis created capacity issues.
- The pandemic is a big test for Microsoft’s cloud business as it tries to upend the market-leading Amazon Web Services, which has said it has experienced no outages during the crisis.
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In a note to customers published on Thursday, Microsoft admitted that its Azure cloud business struggled with capacity issues related to the coronavirus crisis and said it’s taking steps to make sure it can meet demand.
“All of Microsoft’s cloud services including Teams and other Microsoft 365 products, Dynamics 365 and Azure were put to the test during these unprecedented and uncertain times,” Microsoft said in the note. “We are incredibly proud to be serving our customers, like those mentioned above, through this time and we also acknowledge that it hasn’t all been without issue. We look to continuously improve our design and operations to account for all circumstances.”
The pandemic has been a big test for Microsoft’s cloud business as it tries to upend the market-leading Amazon Web Services, which has said it has experienced no outages during the crisis.
Last month, Microsoft said that the demand for its Teams communications app “crossed into unprecedented territory,” and it placed temporary restrictions on new Azure subscriptions. Those restrictions allowed the company to meet its current obligations to existing Azure customers and prioritize new customers that are first responders in the coronavirus crisis, Microsoft said.
The company said in March that it would prioritize “first responders, health and emergency management services, critical government infrastructure organizational use, and ensuring remote workers stay up and running with the core functionality of Teams.”
While Microsoft hasn’t publicly released its criteria for first responders, a customer who spoke to Business Insider said their company received its designation through its Microsoft customer service representative. Once the customer’s company was designated as a first responder, it could receive new computing resources after less than a 48-hour wait, resources which are blocked for customers without the designation. Microsoft declined to comment on this information.
In addition to prioritizing first responders, Microsoft also said in its Thursday note that it took other steps to manage the increased demands, including making improvements to Teams, expediting additional server capacity to data center regions that faced constraints, and approving a backlog of customer quota requests. The company also said it’s redefining its Azure demand models to get a better handle on future global events that create simultaneous surges in demand.
Thursday’s note also said that Microsoft had reversed some of its limits on free offers, removing restrictions for new free and benefit subscriptions in “several regions.”
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