Last week, European organizations ran into virtual machine (VM) capacity constraints in Azure, as they attempted to implement their business continuity plans due to COVID-19. The error message read “Allocation failed. We do not have sufficient capacity for the requested size in this region.” This isn’t the first time this has happened however, as last fall, organizations in the north eastern section of the United States dealt with a similar issue.
As organizations develop and shape the definition of the new “business as normal,” there very well could be more capacity constraints to deal with. Some users have mentioned keeping VMs allocated and reducing provisioning to lower the odds of not having resources available. While this may be an attractive solution to some organizations, it could increase the load on the system and further reduce service quality. Prioritizing critical workloads for the short term or being reasonable with usage should be examined while this new normal can be crafted and not crash from being overloaded.
Per Microsoft’s communication updates, it has seen a 775% increase in usage of cloud services, over 44 million new daily Teams users, and virtual desktop usage has multiped three fold. Microsoft’s response to these numbers has been to start throttling certain M365 and O365 services. The named services at this time are OneNote, SharePoint, and Stream, however, Azure, Xbox Live, and Power BI have also witnessed similar constraints.
In a further statement from Microsoft, “As companies operationalize to address new and unique challenges, we have mobilized our global response plan to help customers stay up and running during this critical time. We are actively monitoring performance and usage trends 24/7 to ensure we are optimizing our services for customers worldwide, while accommodating new demand. We are working closely with first responder organizations and critical government agencies to ensure we are prioritizing their unique needs and providing them our fullest support. We are also partnering with governments around the globe to ensure our local datacenters have on-site staffing and all functions are running properly.”
Experiencing issues when using Microsoft online services? You are not alone. Capacity constraints were being hit, pre-COVID-19, and usage has surged in regions with enforced social distancing.
Google has announced a premium support plan for its cloud customers, promising a 15-minute response to the highest severity tickets. Google’s cloud has long struggled with enterprise customers – especially when compared to giants Microsoft and AWS – and this announcement is the latest incarnation of Google’s push to better serve a critical constituency.
In January, Microsoft announced what it’s calling “the largest expansion of its Canadian-based cloud computing infrastructure” since 2016. Additional availability zones and services will increase capacity for cloud-hungry Canadians, and the addition of an Azure ExpressRoute site in Vancouver will guarantee security and performance in a regulated jurisdiction.
Microsoft’s announcement that server-side encryption with customer managed keys for Azure Managed Disks is now available is welcome news for security-minded public cloud customers. Managing one’s own keys in a cloud environment can be an important step in complying with regulatory requirements, and this new feature should open Azure Managed Disks to a wider group of customers who may have held back for this reason.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) has provided its customers with better options for Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) ingress routing. Customers will have to consider which works best for their needs.
AWS VPC Traffic Mirroring gives customers more visibility for out-of-band traffic inspection. This feature is another useful tool for monitoring in the AWS cloud.
Microsoft has added six months of additional support to Windows 10 Enterprise and Education 1709. This will help reduce pressure to upgrade and provide support in the interim as companies focus on business continuity plans due to COVID-19.
Microsoft’s deep pockets and Financing division can save your IT budget. If your Enterprise Agreement is coming up for renewal in the next six months, we will likely be in an economic downturn.
A year has passed since Microsoft converted Premier Support to Unified. High costs, little information, and few comparable options make it difficult for many organizations to decide whether to keep Unified Support, find an alternative, or drop it all together.