- Use of Microsoft services has spiked, representing a 775% increase of cloud services in regions with social distancing or shelter in place policies during the coronavirus pandemic, the company said Friday.
- The increased demand can impact performance and usage and in response, Microsoft said it would prioritize first responders, health and emergency management, critical government infrastructure and core functions of Teams to support remote work. To support the effort, Microsoft is prioritizing capacity for existing customers by adding limits to free offers.
- While demand has not caused any "significant" service disruptions, deployments in taxed regions — including some infrastructure in Europe, the U.K., Asia, India and Brazil — fell below a 99.99% success rate, Microsoft said. In the weeks ahead, the company plans to add "significant new capacity" and encouraged companies to use alternative regions or resource types that may have less demand surge.
Companies enabling cloud-based services are seeing an uptick in usage as organizations rapidly shift to remote work. While good for business, it also threatens service continuity. For example, Teams suffered a two hour outage earlier this month, impacting users in Europe as they signed on for remote work.
Microsoft is augmenting capacity, working with ISPs "taking measures to reduce bandwidth from video sources in order to enable their networks to be performant during the workday."
The outbreak puts vendors in an interesting position: While there's business opportunity with the increased demand, it's in the context of a crisis.
While vendors have seen an increase in service use, they are offering free licenses or donations. Cisco, which has hosted 12 billion meeting minutes on WebEx since March 1, has committed $225 million to "in cash, in-kind, and planned-giving" in response to COVID-19.