Why is it important: Cloud services are often sold to customers under the guise of “limitless resources” that can be scaled to meet current needs, like other utilities. Azure, like other cloud service providers, has seen a huge increase in resource demand over the past few years to meet the needs of businesses and remote workers. Unfortunately for Microsoft, some customers are beginning to feel the effects of this surge and are learning that capacity may have been an issue from the start.

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According to a recent article Informationmore than two dozen Azure data centers, including key hubs in Washington DC, Europe and Asia, are currently operating at reduced capacity. This reduction in capacity, due to several contributing factors, may result in customers not being able to use any of the Azure-based infrastructure and services they need to run their day-to-day operations.

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Microsoft like others cloud service providersfelt the pressure caused by the ongoing shortage of components worldwide, as well as huge surge in telework requirements.

The inability to obtain the necessary processors and other components put the company (and many others) in a position where capacity requirements outpaced their existing infrastructure. Despite the lack of resources, the company continued to promote its cloud services and attract users to its legacy infrastructure.

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Since then, Microsoft has tried to address these issues by launching additional data centers around the world to boost overall capacity. While this idea sounds like a step in the right direction, it won’t necessarily solve the problem for those customers who are currently experiencing problems in their current regions.

In addition to these enhancements, the company periodically issues statements that address, but do not fully acknowledge, current bandwidth issues. Just last month, Microsoft Azure warned customers that they could experience disruptions due to “unprecedented growth in certain regions.” The warning was accompanied by an indication of troubleshooting virtual machine provisioning.

Company officials said shortages are likely to last until 2023 in key hubs such as US West 2. Since it went online in 2007, the Washington state data center has become one of the most heavily used and, as a result, the most limited data centers in the overall infrastructure. According to Directions on Microsoft Wes Miller, Microsoft offers no guidance customers when choosing the best region and data center. This causes customers to reach out to the nearest data center, which may already be overloaded. Miller likens the experience to “getting on a bus that’s already full of passengers”.

While the events of the past few years have undoubtedly contributed to this, Microsoft can hardly point to them as the sole cause of its current performance issues. Customers and users online have been commenting on the performance of US West 2 since 2017. Walmart and Chevron, two of Azure’s largest customers, also experienced access issues back in 2019.

Image credit: Chris Montgomery