Microsoft logoSource: Windows Central

What you need to know

  • Microsoft has seen a 775 percent increase in Microsoft Teams usage in certain regions due to the current health crisis.
  • To ensure optimal performance for front-line workers and other prioritized people, Microsoft has made adjustments to Azure.
  • The changes don't change the core experience of any service.

Updated March 31, 2020: Microsoft issued a correction to its initial statement about the recent increase in cloud usage. Microsoft's blog post initially stated that it had seen a "775 percent increase of [its] cloud services in regions that have enforced social distancing or shelter in place orders." The company has now clarified that the 775 percent increase was specifically about Teams, stating it has "seen a 775 percent increase in Teams' calling and meeting monthly users in a one month period in Italy, where social distancing or shelter in place orders have been enforced." We've updated the article below to reflect Microsoft's correction.

Microsoft has seen a significant spike in cloud usage due to the current health crisis. The company saw a 775 percent increase in Microsoft Teams calling and meeting over a one month period in Italy. Additionally, Microsoft Teams, Windows Virtual Desktop, and Power BI have all seen increases in use. Microsoft states that its top priority is to deliver support for front-line workers, including first responders, medical supply management and delivery systems, and health management applications and record systems. To ensure smooth performance for these workers, Microsoft has made some temporary changes to Azure. All of the changes are outlined in an updated Azure post from Microsoft (via TechRadar).

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Microsoft shared that Microsoft Teams has increased to 44 million daily active users. Those users "generated over 900 million meeting and calling minutes on Teams daily in a single week," according to Microsoft. Similarly, Windows Virtual Desktop usage has gone up threefold. Government usage of Power BI to share COVID-19 dashboards with citizens has increased by 42 percent in just one week.

With that increased demand, Microsoft decided to temporarily change some Azure services to lighten the load on the cloud. For Microsoft Teams, Microsoft has placed limits on free offers to prioritize existing customers. There are also limits on certain resources for new subscriptions to Teams. Microsoft explains that these are"'soft' quota limits, and customers can raise support requests to increase these limits."

Inside Teams, Microsoft has made "a few temporary adjustments to select non-essential capabilities such as how often we check for user presence, the interval in which we show when the other party is typing, and video resolution." Microsoft also disabled custom Xbox Live gamer pics recently.

Microsoft states that the high demand for cloud services has caused services in some regions to drop below the 99.99 percent success rate that Microsoft considers typical. Changes to Azure services should be able to improve reliability and ease the strain on bandwidth.

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