Microsoft fleshes out its mission to combat COVID-19 impact

Microsoft has not been shy regarding its work to ensure customers can continue to operate through this unforeseen period, and now it has offered more detail.

Like every cloud computing company or telecoms operator, Microsoft had to deal with a significant spike in demand as the coronavirus pandemic disrupted operations all over the world. The shift in working practices has thrust cloud to the forefront of every IT decision maker worth their salt, and should networks remain resilient during this period, this shift is more likely to remain permanent.

“This was a real-time moving event, and people needed to make decisions hour by hour and minute by minute,” Gary Bird, a Principal Program Manager for Microsoft Power Platform said. “You really saw the whole company lean in across all fronts to make solutions happen.”

Before offering too much of a congratulations to Microsoft alone, it is worth noting that all players in the cloud segment seemingly stepped up to the plate. Business operations were of course disrupted because of this pandemic, however investments which have been taking place in the data centre and cloud space over the last few years ensured these interruptions were managed.

To deal with the increase in demand, Microsoft’s Azure Wide Area Network team added 110 terabits of capacity to its fibre optic cable networks, as well as 12 new sites that connect the network to infrastructure owned by local internet providers. The team also moved its own internal Azure workloads to avoid demand peaks.

The preparedness of the major cloud players, such as Google and AWS alongside Microsoft, has not only ensured the economy could continue to function in some semblance of normality during this period, but it has perhaps also encouraged renewed enthusiasm for digital transformation programmes.

In a poll to readers, 50% of respondents said they expect to continue the current home working dynamic in the long-term but would have to check into the office once or twice a week, while 34% said employees would be given the option to work as they please. Only 6% said their organisation is still not convinced by the benefits of remote working.

Although it is difficult to discuss benefits and positives to come from the COVID-19 outbreak, it does appear the vast majority of businesses have had their eyes opened to digital transformation. But it is always worth remembering that this catalyst for the cloud computing segment would not be if not for the resilience and performance of networks during this period.

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