A Microsoft data center in Cheyenne, Wyo. (Microsoft Photo)
In an increasingly competitive market for cloud computing, reliability matters, and Microsoft has some work to do.
Data compiled by Gartner and Krystallize Technologies shows a noticeable gap between Microsoft Azure and the other two big cloud providers when looking at cloud uptime in North America during 2018. According to Gartner, last year Amazon Web Services and Google had nearly identical uptime statistics for the virtual machines at the heart of cloud services 99.9987 percent and 99.9982 percent, respectively while Azure trailed by a small but significant amount, at 99.9792 percent.
Azure has had significant downtime, not just in 2018, but even the first three months of 2019 have been not good for Microsoft, said Raj Bala, an analyst with Gartner who compiled the data.
As Microsoft courts developers this week at Build with an array of new services, it has also making been making changes behind the scenes to improve Azure reliability, said Mark Russinovich, Microsoft Azure CTO, in an interview this week with GeekWire. He plans to showcase a few of those improvements during his annual Azure architecture keynote on Wednesday, but also defended the companys track record when dealing with planned and unplanned disruptions to cloud service.
Weve invested a ton in capabilities that allow us to do maintenance with little to zero impact on customers, Russinovich said.
However, that didnt help last week when a routine DNS migration went haywire, disconnecting Azure services from customers and causing a major outage that lasted several hours and took out essential Microsoft services like Office 365 and Xbox Live, as well as websites such as the one youre currently visiting.
According to a root-cause analysis released by Microsoft earlier this week, that problem was caused by two separate errors, and had either one of those errors happened by itself, were not having this discussion. As a result, Microsoft is putting additional procedures and safeguards into place in hopes of preventing this from happening again in the future, Russinovich said.
When you do thousands of these and everything goes off fine, youre like, the process works, he said. Obviously something like this shows us that theres a gap, and were closing that gap.
There were two major unplanned events that rocked Microsofts cloud services in North America during 2018.
The discovery of the Meltdown and Spectre chip bugs in 2017 forced all cloud providers to update their services in January 2018 with software mitigations that isolated cloud customers from those bugs, but Microsoft had to reboot everyones servers to put those changes into effect, and that takes time. And in September 2018, a lightning strike at a data center in its South Central U.S. region caused some cooling systems to fail, damaging servers and knocking out some services for more than 24 hours as engineers worked to preserve customer data and replace the damaged systems.
In the months following the Spectre reboot cycle, Microsoft began rolling out new live migration capabilities that allow it to update servers running customer workloads with little to no disruption. Earlier this year it began rolling those features out across its network of data centers, and theyre now operating nearly everywhere, Russinovich said.
But AWS and Google also needed to update their servers to add the patches for Spectre and Meltdown, and it didnt appear to have as much of an impact on their service uptime. Google likes to tout its live migration capabilities that can update servers with no disruption to customer workloads, while AWS talks far less about the technologies it uses to run its cloud service, which is very on brand for the market-share leader.
Microsoft is also using machine-learning technology to do predictive analytics on its data center hardware, Russinovich said, in hopes of flagging components that are about to fail or underperform based on historical performance data.
On Wednesday Russinovich plans to show off Project Tardigrade, a new Azure service named after the nearly indestructible microscopic animals also known as water bears. This effort will detect hardware failures or memory leaks that can lead to operating system crashes just before they occur and freeze virtual machines for a few seconds so the workloads can be moved to a fresh server.
The company is also continuing to roll out availability zones in its cloud computing regions around the world. Microsoft cloud executives rarely miss an opportunity to point out that they have the most regions around the world of any cloud provider, but only within the last year has Microsoft started building availability zones separate facilities within a region with independent power and cooling supplies that help ensure availability in the event of a problem at one building in a region.
Microsoft launched its first availability zones in March 2018 in its Iowa and Paris data centers, and has since rolled them out to several other regions in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. Cloud providers refer to regions and zones a little differently, but AWS and Google Cloud have had far more availability zones up and running for several years.
Operating cloud computing services at scale is really one of the more amazing things human beings have accomplished; the complexity involved is hard to appreciate without a fair amount of knowledge about how these systems work. And even if Microsoft lags AWS and Google in reliability scoring, unless your company is blessed with world-class operations talent, Microsoft is likely still better at operating data centers than most companies managing their own servers.
But turning over control of your most critical business applications to a third-party provider still requires a leap of faith. As cloud companies fight tooth and nail for the next generation of large enterprise customers considering a move to the cloud, uptime numbers will be more and more important.
Microsoft may be all-in on cloud computing, but Azure ...
- Cloud Computing: How Creators and Innovators are Redrawing the Landscape of the Tech Industry - - TechiExpert.com - July 25th, 2020
- Got $3,000 to Invest? Here Are 3 No-Brainer Stocks to Buy in Cloud Computing - Motley Fool - July 25th, 2020
- Illinois regulators reject proposal to allow utilities cost recovery for cloud-based computing - Utility Dive - July 25th, 2020
- Future Trends in the World of Cloud Computing - Analytics Insight - July 25th, 2020
- Why Cloud Computing industries are growing amid Covid crisis - Times of India - July 25th, 2020
- Former Amazon vice president calls for the company to split its retail and cloud businesses - CNBC - July 25th, 2020
- Experts Advocate Adoption of Cloud Computing for Businesses - THISDAY Newspapers - July 25th, 2020
- Thematic ETFs are red-hot. Analysts assess the market's newest darlings - CNBC - July 25th, 2020
- Cloud Computing Data Center It Asset Disposition Market Segmentation By Qualitative And Quantitative Research Incorporating Impact Of Economic and... - July 25th, 2020
- Healthcare Cloud Computing Market Extensive Industry Analysis, Growth Rate, Segmentation, Investment Opportunities and Top Manufacturers 2027 - Owned - July 25th, 2020
- Impact of Covid-19 Global Healthcare Cloud Computing Market (2020 To 2027) | Amazon, EMC Corporation, HealthFusion, Inc., Allscripts Healthcare... - July 25th, 2020
- Cell Biology Cloud Computing Market 2020:Key market Insights, Drivers and Restraints, Opportunities and Challenges, Sales and Revenue and Forecast... - July 25th, 2020
- Latest News: Cloud Computing Market Is Taking Foot Back Due to Covid-19! is it? Check out with Analysis of Leading Players in the Globe- Amazon Web... - July 25th, 2020
- Cloud Computing in Healthcare Market Segmentation By Qualitative And Quantitative Research Incorporating Impact Of Economic and Non-Economic Aspects... - July 25th, 2020
- The global key management as a service market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 25.9% between 2020 and 2030 (forecast period), after having generated... - July 25th, 2020
- Verizon Teams With Microsoft for IoT Push - Motley Fool - July 25th, 2020
- At least seven British universities hit by ransomware attack on cloud provider - www.computing.co.uk - July 25th, 2020
- Sponsored: Pearson and Amazon Web Services develop first Cloud Computing BTEC Higher National qualifications to help address the cloud computing... - July 21st, 2020
- Cloud Computing Security Software Market Overview with Detailed Analysis, Competitive landscape, Forecast to 2025 - Cole of Duty - July 21st, 2020
- Global Cloud Computing Services Market 2020: Expected Development, Share, Demand And Study Of Key Players- Research Predictions 2026 - Cole of Duty - July 21st, 2020
- The Future of Cloud Computing: Impact on Businesses, Workforces, and Societies - The Ritz Herald - July 21st, 2020
- Emerging Cloud Vendors To Know In 2020 - CRN: Technology news for channel partners and solution providers - July 21st, 2020
- Oracle Announces a Fully-Managed Cloud Region with Cloud@Customer - InfoQ.com - July 21st, 2020
- Cloud Computing Platform as a Service (PaaS) Market 2020-2025 Global In-depth Industry Analysis By Types, Applications, Size, Share, Competition,... - July 21st, 2020
- IIT Madras and Great Learning Introduce an Advanced Certification Program in Software Engineering for Cloud, Blockchain & IoT - PR Newswire India - July 21st, 2020
- Coronavirus threat to global Good Growth Opportunities in Cloud Computing Platform as a Service (PaaS) Market - Owned - July 21st, 2020
- Enterprises in Germany Look to SDN Technologies to Assist with Cloud Migration - AiThority - July 21st, 2020
- Adoption of Cloud Computing in Municipalities Aids Public Health, Transportation and Safety - BroadbandBreakfast.com - July 19th, 2020
- Cloud Computing Market Worth $765.6 Billion By 2027 | Grand View Research Inc. - MENAFN.COM - July 19th, 2020
- Managing the Impact of Cloud Computing - The CPA Journal - July 19th, 2020
- Venture capital firms bank on a sustained shift to the cloud - Brisbane Times - July 19th, 2020
- 3 cloud computing stocks riding the hype wave - ForexLive - July 19th, 2020
- What serverless computing enthusiasts like about serverless, and how they use it - ZDNet - July 19th, 2020
- Bennett University offers BCA Program focussed on Data science and Cloud computing skills - Times of India - July 19th, 2020
- Google Launches the First NVIDIA Ampere A100 GPUs in the Cloud with Computing Engine A2 VMs - InfoQ.com - July 19th, 2020
- 64 Decentralized Applications Now Live on Blockchain Network Ontology, which Recently Became Google Cloud Partner - Crowdfund Insider - July 19th, 2020
- Meet Gaia X Europe's answer to the power of U.S. and Chinese cloud giants - CNBC - July 19th, 2020
- IBM strikes multi-year alliance with EY; one goal is to boost Red Hat cloud - WRAL Tech Wire - July 19th, 2020
- SaaS Cloud Computing Market Size By Product Analysis, Application, End-Users, Regional Outlook, Competitive Strategies And Forecast Up To 2026 - 3rd... - July 19th, 2020
- COVID-19 Update: Global CLOUD COMPUTING IN RETAIL BANKING Market is Expected to Grow at a Healthy CAGR with top players China Unicom, Intuit, IBM,... - July 19th, 2020
- Multi-cloud environments: Explore the pros and cons - TechTarget - July 19th, 2020
- Leverage Mega-Trends With This ETF - ETF Trends - July 19th, 2020
- Online Gaming: The Rise of a Multi-Billion Dollar Industry - Visual Capitalist - July 19th, 2020
- COVID-19 is driving IBM, IT industry to deliver faster 'edge' computing - WRAL Tech Wire - July 19th, 2020
- Google Teams With NVIDIA on New Cloud Computing Offerings - The Motley Fool - July 9th, 2020
- How will the cloud strengthen business continuity? | EC-Council Official Blog - EC-Council Blog - July 9th, 2020
- How is Cloud Computing Transforming the Businesses of Consumer Electronics? - Embedded Computing Design - July 9th, 2020
- Google Cloud and Renault partner for Industry 4.0 optimisation - Cloud Tech - July 9th, 2020
- Star2Star Wins 2020 Cloud Computing Product of the Year Award - Yahoo Finance - July 9th, 2020
- In cloud computing, SMEs have the magic wand to disruption of supply chain - The Standard - July 9th, 2020
- Cloud Computing Data Center It Asset Disposition Market Growth By Manufacturers, Countries, Types And Application, End Users And Forecast To 2026 -... - July 9th, 2020
- Cloud Computing Platform as a Service (PaaS) Market Growth By Manufacturers, Type And Application, Forecast To 2026 - 3rd Watch News - July 9th, 2020
- Collective Demand for Cloud Computing Optical Component Market to Significantly Boost Revenues through the COVID-19 Crisis - 3rd Watch News - July 9th, 2020
- Cloud Computing in Education Sector Market Segmentation and Analysis by Recent - News by aeresearch - July 9th, 2020
- Cloud Native Computing Foundation Scales Sandbox Approval Process to Meet Growing Demand from New Projects - PRNewswire - July 9th, 2020
- Global Cloud Computing in Automotive Market 2020: Production Cost, Sales, Demand, End User, Manufacturers and Industry Shares till 2025 - Owned - July 9th, 2020
- AWS Looks to the Final Frontier of Cloud Computing: Space - WebProNews - July 9th, 2020
- Commerce Cloud Computing Market 2020 Emerging Trends, Top Companies, Industry Demand, Growth Opportunities, Business Review and Regional Analysis 2025... - July 9th, 2020
- Global Cloud Computing in K-12 Market Recent Trends, In-depth Analysis, Market Size Research Report Forecast up to 2027: SAP, Adobe Systems, NetApp -... - July 9th, 2020
- Cloud computing IaaS in Life Science Market Growth By Manufacturers, Countries, Types And Application, End Users And Forecast To 2026 - 3rd Watch News - July 9th, 2020
- Nutanix to Host Tech Talk on End User Computing - Business Wire - July 9th, 2020
- What is cloud VPN and why is its popularity on the rise? - TechRadar - July 9th, 2020
- Government Cloud Computing Market Growth By Manufacturers, Type And Application, Forecast To 2026 - 3rd Watch News - July 9th, 2020
- Interview: Seacom CIO Marius Burger on cloud in the time of Covid - TechCentral - July 9th, 2020
- Pearson and Amazon Web Services develop first Cloud Computing BTEC Higher National qualifications to help address the cloud computing skills gap - FE... - July 6th, 2020
- Cloud Supply Chain Management (SCM) Software Market to Witness over XX% Growth 'in Revenue During the COVID-19 Pandemic 2017-2023 3w Market News... - July 6th, 2020
- Prospects of Cloud Advertising Market 2020-2026 and Top Players involved in the market Like Amazon Web Services, Inc., Oracle Corporation, Google... - July 6th, 2020
- Cloud Engineering Market Global Industry Size, Growth, Segments and Top Companies Overview that are Trianz, Sogeti, Aricent Inc, Calsoft Inc,... - July 6th, 2020
- 3 Top Cloud Computing Stocks to Buy in July - The Motley Fool - July 5th, 2020
- Cloud Computing is the Focus of this New ETF from Dan Ives and Wedbush - The Wall Street Transcript - July 5th, 2020
- AMZN: 5 Cloud Computing Stocks that are Expected to Outperform - StockNews.com - July 5th, 2020
- Edge and the Cloud Partners or Competitors? Part I - Manufacturing.net - July 5th, 2020
- Cloud Computing Security Software Market Growth By Manufacturers, Type And Application, Forecast To 2026 - 3rd Watch News - July 5th, 2020
- Why Indian IT Professionals Are Looking To Upskill Themselves In Cloud Computing - Analytics India Magazine - July 5th, 2020
- Adopt Cloud fast to beat pandemic blues: Indian tech honchos - Outlook India - July 5th, 2020
- Cloud Computing for Business Operations Market to Witness Robust Expansion throughout the Forecast Period 2020-2025: Top Key Players Amazon Web... - July 5th, 2020
- Concerned on Parts of Tech Sector, But Sees Continued Growth Tied to Two Megatrends: Fidelity - FX Empire - July 5th, 2020
- Here's My Top Stock to Buy in July - Motley Fool - July 5th, 2020
- 3 Stocks to Buy in the Market That Could Mint the World's First Trillionaire - Motley Fool - July 5th, 2020
- Amazon Web Services joins hands with SpringPeople to close the cloud computing skill gaps - CRN.in - July 5th, 2020