Interesting (infrastructure) tidbits about Microsoft Azure

I attended a session organized by aditi regarding Microsoft Azure and Windows 8, called “Go Cloud 8” today. One of the speakers in the event was Deepak Rao, Microsoft’ Director of Cloud Computing. He shared some interesting numbers about the infrastructure running Microsoft Azure

  • 8 carrier grade data centers around the world. “Carrier” grade because of the sheer size of them.
  • The data center in Chicago houses more than 350,000 servers and is supported by only 30 FTEs (which makes me think about the number of contractors they have there 🙂 )
  • 1 in 4 x86 servers produced were bought by Microsoft. Not sure if it was in 2011 or 2012!!

Deepak also gave an real world example of how one of their customers used Azure.

BPro Inc provides software to counties and states for helping report election results. They run their backend on the Azure platform. During normal periods, they run ~10 instances of compute nodes. But during the election day (11/6) this week, BPro spun up 8600 compute nodes in less than 15 minutes at 4:00 PM EST, to help support the load created by the demand for election results and than again shutdown all of them at around 1:00 AM EST when the demand decreased. Using the “list” pricing of $0.12/hr/compute node, that massive increase in capacity cost them ~$8K!!.

That is pretty impressive and I usually don’t use the work impressive in the same sentence as Microsoft 🙂