Microsoft prioritises extra Azure capacity for 'key customers'

The Microsoft Azure logo displayed on a smartphone

Emergency services and critical infrastructure given top billing should Azure face capacity constraints

Microsoft has outlined provisions for adding capacity to its Azure servers for key public and emergency services across the world as teams fight to contain the escalating COVID-19 crisis.

The company says it has been monitoring its services and usage trends 24/7 to ensure customers are able to stay online as businesses adjust to a sharp rise in remote working

However, Microsoft has said a cohort of key customers will be prioritised should there be capacity constraints, which includes retaining priority over new Azure cloud capacity.

With demand rising, higher priority will be afforded to first responders, health and emergency services, critical government infrastructure organisational use, as well as ensuring remote workers are up and running with the core functionality of Teams

“Over the past several weeks, all of us have come together to battle the global health pandemic,” the company said in a blog post. "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," added Microsoft.

The tech giant has stressed there aren’t any cloud constraints at the moment, but concerns remain that the stress on the wider internet will increase as more of the global population moves online.

A host of streaming providers, including Netflix and YouTube, have in the last few days reduced streaming quality as a direct response to these concerns.

Microsoft’s brief warning about potential usage constraints with Azure cloud services may cause concern for businesses currently struggling to grapple with masses of employees adopting flexible and remote working patterns.

It's currently unclear what these restrictions mean for businesses and organisations not deemed to be a priority, should Azure servers be faced with capacity constraints in any of its regions - it's likely that some businesses could struggle to secure extra capacity if demand continues to increase.

The industry giant has said, however, that it would communicate any updates as soon as possible through its online resources and blogs.

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