Here at Microsoft, as most of our company starts the seventh week in changed professional and private arrangements, we are learning new ways to measure, work, learn, and communicate. We also are learning from you—our customers and partners. We are all adjusting during this moment together and are appreciative of the feedback we receive and therefore the confidence our customers have in our wide selection of cloud services.
As a technology-first responder serving first responders battling the worldwide health crisis, as a trusted cloud provider to make sure your technology investment continues to deliver the worth you expect, and as a corporation committed to assisting as organizations adapt to changing needs—we are relentlessly focused on providing the support needed to assist the workforce to operate as smoothly as possible during these changing times.
To ensure optimum focus, our efforts still be anchored in two key areas of action:
Help our customers address their most urgent needs.
Ensure Microsoft Azure continues to scale to satisfy new demand.
The rest of this post shares insights into the work we’ve done to support those two areas of continuity for organizations, businesses, and therefore the people within them, round the world.
Helping our customers address their most urgent needs
Across our portfolio of cloud services, we work with various groups of worldwide customers and organizations. Although their fields of labor and customer needs are unique, there’s consistency in what they’re trying to find from cloud providers. Remote work, distance learning, real-time insights, and analytics have all been common themes of when it involves the foremost pressing needs during this point.
Some samples of this add action:
As businesses and schools around the world prioritize the security and well-being of their employees and students, Microsoft Teams, which runs on Azure, is playing a critical role in helping them stay connected through video meetings, calls, and chats. We’ve seen a replacement daily record of two .7 billion meeting minutes in at some point. one among the organizations using Teams is St. Luke’s University Health Network. St. Luke’s University Health network serves approximately 1 million people across 10 counties in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. during a matter of weeks, they transformed the way they work and deliver patient care through Teams, and since mid-March have completed over 75,000 virtual patient visits. This allowed them to continue critical outpatient visits while protecting both patients and physicians from COVID-19 exposure and preserving valuable resources like masks and gloves. Tablets have also been installed in patient rooms so providers can engage with infected patients via Teams, minimizing exposure while still allowing face-to-face connections between patients and caregivers.
HoloLens 2 and Dynamics 365 Remote Assist are getting used on the front lines by nurses and doctors (like Dr. Thomas Gregory) to take care of social distancing and minimize interactions all while ensuring expert support of patients via remote participation of support staff and access to valuable patient data and health records. And for the primary time ever, rather than working together on campus, all 185 first-year students from Case Western Reserve University’s School of drugs are using HoloLens and therefore the university’s signature HoloAnatomy mixed-reality software, in light of the necessity for physical separation during the pandemic.
Hundreds of healthcare providers have installed the facility Platform Emergency Response Solution for hospitals, which was developed with Swedish Health Services within the Seattle area to research and improve resource tracking and decision support tools for hospital administrators.
Our Nonprofit Data Warehouse Quickstart efforts are helping nonprofits easily deploy Azure analytics services like Azure Synapse Analytics and with prebuilt Power BI templates by integrating sample datasets like the planet Health Organization Water and Sanitation data repository, data that are aligned to the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) data standard, and therefore the Common Data Model for Nonprofits.
We recently announced the Dynamics 365 Healthcare Accelerator Patient Scheduling and Screening Template—a tool designed to assist healthcare organizations to address large volumes of patient requests with higher efficiency. The template provides access to a portal with information about COVID-19, an easy-to-use self-assessment tool for patients to work out risk, and an automatic process for booking and performing COVID-19 screening.
Emergency Medical Services Copenhagen provides emergency look after about one-third of Denmark’s population. Shortly after the COVID-19 outbreak calls to its emergency lines almost doubled, with around 2,000 calls daily by early March from worried people showing symptoms of COVID-19 or having questions on the disease. Emergency Medical Services Copenhagen is now one among many healthcare organizations in Europe and beyond using Microsoft’s Healthcare Bot service to assist screen people for potential coronavirus infection and treatment.
Ensuring Azure continues to scale to satisfy the new demand
The impact of the present pandemic may be a great example of how cloud computing can rapidly meet new challenges. All of Microsoft’s cloud services including Teams and other Microsoft 365 products, Dynamics 365 and Azure were put to the test during these unprecedented and unsure times. We are incredibly proud to be serving our customers, like those mentioned above, through this point and that we also acknowledge that it hasn’t all been without issue. we glance to continuously improve our design and operations to account for all circumstances. Before we share the improvements we’re making, here’s some background on how we build and operate Azure.
Azure has been designed to quickly scale to satisfy surges in demand once they occur. Over the past few years, we’ve seen phenomenal demand for Azure services. to stay up with this demand, we’ve continued to expand our datacenter footprint—with 58 datacenter regions around the world. To manage the traditional high growth we’ve come to expect, we design and source our own infrastructure components, (and share our designs back to the community through the Open Compute Project), and closely manage our strategic demand and provide chain forecasting models. generally, in any particular Azure region, we ensure a near-instant capacity buffer within the datacenters and hold additional infrastructure buffer warehoused, able to ship to regions with high demand.
Last month, the surging use of Teams for remote work and education thanks to the pandemic crossed into unprecedented territory. Although we had seen surges in specific datacenter regions or wider geographies before, like in response to natural disasters, the substantial Teams demand increase from Asia then quickly followed in Europe indicated that we were seeing something very different, and increasingly global. Without knowing the truth scale of the new demand, we took a cautious approach and put in situ temporary resource limits on new Azure subscriptions. (Existing customer subscriptions didn’t experience these restrictions as each Azure customer account features a defined quota of services they will access.) This allowed us to still meet the promised quota for all existing Azure customers, prioritize new needs for all times and safety organizations on the front lines of the pandemic response and support the dramatic shift to remote work and education on Teams.
As this surge in Teams demand occurred, we quickly took steps towards managing increased cloud infrastructure and network demand including:
- Optimized and load-balanced the team’s architecture and quickly unrolled these improvements worldwide (using Azure DevOps), without interrupting the customer experience. This work is durable such we will manage Teams’ rapid climb moving forward without creating pressure on Azure customers’ capacity needs.
- Expediting additional server capacity to the precise regions that faced constraints, while ensuring the security and health of our datacenter staff and provide chain partners.
- Approving the backlog of customer quota requests, which we are rapidly doing a day and are on target to finish over the subsequent few weeks in most regions.
- Removing restrictions for brand spanking new free and benefit subscriptions in several regions, in order that anyone can learn more about Azure’s capabilities and develop new skills.
- Refining our Azure demand models. Our data science models are using what we’ve learned from this pandemic to raised forecast future demands, including adding more support to handle future global events sort of a pandemic that drives simultaneous demand usage everywhere within the world.
We remain committed to operational excellence and that we will still share what we are learning and doing to support everyone during this point.