Forget red, this year Santa is all about Azure. Check out how Microsoft's cloud helps NORAD track the festive icon.

HP laptop wearing a Santa hat set on a snowscape
(Image credit: Future)

What you need to know

  • Each year, NORAD tracks Santa Claus as he travels around the world delivering gifts.
  • Microsoft partners with NORAD to help track the festive icon.
  • This year, has been upgraded to a JavaScript based site with support for nine languages.
  • That website is also hosted in six Azure Regions around the world.

'Twas the week before Christmas, when all through the house, not an accessory was stirring, not even a mouse. The GOVEE lights were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there. The gamers were nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of Azure danced in their heads.

In non-poetic terms, that means Microsoft and NORAD (The North American Aerospace Defense Command) have teamed up yet again to help people track Santa Claus as he travels the world delivering gifts. NORAD has tracked Santa each year since 1955, and the tracking has gotten more sophisticated over the decades. is the hub for tracking the festive icon. On December 24, also known as Christmas Eve, the website will swap over to a full-time Santa tracker. Until then, has a variety of holiday themed activities, including games and music. uses Azure technology to track Santa Claus uses Azure technology to track Santa Claus. It also has a variety of holiday games and music. (Image credit: Future)

Microsoft explained that its "developer elves" have swapped to a JavaScript based website. It now supports nine different languages and is hosted in six Azure Regions around the world.

The changes to the website should result in a faster experience when navigating around. The site is rather straightforward, so there's much to explain or dive into in terms of the end-user experience. Instead, Microsoft broke down how it improved the website using Azure to illustrate to developers how Azure can be used.

If you need to know where Santa is at all times, you can also use the NORAD Tracks Santa app on iOS and Android.

Showcasing Azure

Azure powers an interactive map that teaches people about Christmas around the world.

Azure powers an interactive map that teaches people about holidays around the world. (Image credit: Microsoft) serves as a showcase for various Microsoft Azure technologies. The website is an Azure static web app, which can be made with web frameworks like Angular, React, Vue, or Blazor. The site also uses Azure Front Door, which is Microsoft's cloud Content Delivery Network (CDN), and Azure Function, which is a cloud computing service for building, testing, and deploying apps.

Map-based applications can use Azure Maps, and Microsoft shows that off with as well.

Since NORAD's Santa tracker is a global site, it's worth a quick look at how Microsoft uses its Azure Maps Platform to create an interactive map:

"Azure Maps is a service that enables you to develop map-based applications with ease, using location data, map visualizations, and spatial operations. You can search, route, track, and discover location-based insights with Azure Maps, and integrate it with the Azure platform and other services. Azure Maps provides a comprehensive set of geospatial services, mapping APIs, and SDKs for web and mobile development"

You can click around an interactive map on to learn about holiday traditions from different parts of the world.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at