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Microsoft Azure Cloud Gets Bigger


Microsoft Azure Cloud Gets Bigger
Date: 23rd July 2012

by Russell Dickinson

US software giant Microsoft said that its Azure cloud has grown 400% in size compared with last year.

The cloud computing platform currently hosts over 4 trillion objects, which represent unique, non-duplicated units. On average the platform processes some 270,000 inquiries per second. However, Azure switches to a higher gear during busy periods, when it handles a considerably larger volume of requests. Peak times are marked by an inflow of 880,000 queries per second. Overall, request rates are nearly three times as high as in the past year, according to a blog entry by a Microsoft official.

Objects stored on the cloud vary among disks and drives, queues and tables, as well as bunches of files linked to a single user account. The latter, dubbed "blobs" by the software company, are used for storage of fat bundles of unstructured data. The blobs consist of sub-units "blocks" each of which has a size limit of 200 gigabytes. Allowed blob volume per user is up to 100 terabytes.

While Azure has been offered so far mainly in the platform-as-a-service (PaaS) form and thus has been primarily used for cloud development and storage of software, Microsoft has also ventured into the infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) cloud model. The company's IaaS suite includes disk and drive items.

Microsoft's CEO, Steve Ballmer, told a news conference in San Francisco last week that the new version of the well-known Office pack will be offered as a cloud-based service. Office 2013 will be accessible on multiple devices via the cloud and will also feature social functionalities. The pricing and availability of the suite will be unveiled in the autumn.

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