Covid-19: The limits of cloud providers soon reached?

The health crisis linked to Covid-19 is provoking a worldwide rise in telework. This raises questions about the ability of IT providers to cope with the explosion in the consumption of IT cloud resources.

Fallen on the field of honor. Last week, Microsoft’s collaborative cloud service, Teams, could not resist the onslaught of requests made by millions of users called in mass to telecommute all over the world with the Covid-19 health crisis. “There will be many consequences for the IT industry, some sectors of which will function better than others […] 2020 will be a very bad year for IT services”, warned the company specializing in IT studies and anlayses GlobalData. However, if decreases in demand are to be expected, demand for cloud resources should continue to explode, driven not only by the current crisis and teleworking forced for many, but also the acceleration of digital transformation projects inevitably bringing more in addition to companies hitherto reluctant to throw themselves into the big bath of the multicloud, to go there.

“As companies stop their brick and mortar operations and, when they can, switch to a remote workforce, it’s clear how important the cloud is for business continuity. Any organization that actively resists digitalization is now faced with a harsh reality. This puts cloud providers in a strong position, ”said Chris Drake, senior analyst, Global IT Technology and Software at GlobalData. The consequence for cloud providers is far from trivial since it raises the question of their ability to withstand the climbing load of remote access.

Creation of Azure virtual machines impacted

Could the situation become critical? There are some signals to consider: in Europe, for example, many Azure customers have reported capacity limits to open new virtual machines or even start them. However, up to now the large historical cloud providers offering compute, storage and network services would be better able to support an increase in usage load. “Major public cloud providers, such as AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud, have built huge global networks that are incredibly well equipped to handle traffic spikes. So, not surprisingly, we have seen virtually no impact related to Covid-19 within their networks. If we consider the number of failures detected in the last six weeks, the trend line remains relatively stable worldwide, with only a slight increase in the United States, “reassures ThousandEyes.

It remains to closely follow the evolution over time of this trend, knowing that for other IT and telecom service operators, the situation appears more worrying. “Incidents of failure within large networks of UCaaS providers are quite rare; however, the recent massive increase in usage clearly highlights the current design limitations. The capacity would be increased in general to meet new service demands, “warned ThousandEyes in a post. Over the past 24 hours, 31 failures in 23 locations have been identified worldwide, affecting a wide variety of players ranging from Akamai, Cogent to AT&T. In this context, in France in particular, organizations at the forefront of which Arcep and the French Telecoms Federation have stepped up to order the large video service providers – Netflix, Google YouTube in the lead – to make efforts to limit their bandwidth consumption. A call heard in the ears of Walt Disney who agreed to postpone the launch of its Disney + streaming service for 15 days in France, but not in 7 other European countries such as Great Britain, Germany and Italy, yet cruelly affected by the pest coronavirus SARS-Cov-2.

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