Special Feature
Part of a ZDNet Special Feature: Coronavirus: Business and technology in a pandemic

European users reporting they're hitting Azure capacity constraints

Some Microsoft Azure cloud customers in Europe are reporting they are hitting capacity limits are unable to spin up virtual machines in their regions.

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Credit: ZDNet

Last fall, some U.S.-based Azure customers, especially those in the East US region, reported they were hitting capacity constraints, especially when trying to spin up virtual machines. At that time, users outside the U.S. didn't seem to be encountering those same barriers. But that may be changing, starting this week.

On Twitter, a number of Azure customers in Europe were reporting today, March 24, that they are hitting capacity constraints. The limits are coming at a time when more and more users worldwide are working remotely due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Tero Alhonen (@teroalhonen on Twitter) posted on March 24: "Looks like we've used all the ram, disk and cpu in Azure. Failed to start virtual machine ".Error: Allocation failed. We do not have sufficient capacity for the requested VM size in this region."

Nigel Webster (@nigel_websters) tweeted to Microsoft's @Azure account: "Capacity and resource issues in UK South, Europe North and Europe West for us. Cant even create any new machines as a test with 1CPU."

A number of others on Twitter reported error messages stating "Allocation failed. We do not have sufficient capacity for the requested size in this region." Users noted they were not seeing any kind of a warning about this on the Azure status page. One user, Dave Lee (@davelee212) said his organization did receive a notification in the Service Health dashboard that there may be provisioning issues due to capacity

Azure MVP Aidan Finn (@joe_elway on Twitter) suggested Azure users stop using scheduled VM start/stop, which some do to save money, while capacity is an issue. Finn tweeted today that customers should "keep VMs allocated & your hands all over those CPUs while there are resource constraints."  

I've asked Microsoft for comment on what's going on. No word back so far. But on March 21, in a blog post entitled "Our commitment to customers and Microsoft cloud services community," company officials stated:

"As demand continues to grow, if we are faced with any capacity constraints in any region during this time, we have established clear criteria for the priority of new cloud capacity. Top priority will be going to first responders, health and emergency management services, critical government infrastructure organizational use, and ensuring remote workers stay up and running with the core functionality of Teams. We will also consider adjusting free offers, as necessary, to ensure support of existing customers."

Last fall when I asked about Azure hitting capacity limits in US East, a company spokesperson acknowledged this was happening and said Microsoft was trying to assist customers with "the right options." When I had a chance to ask Microsoft Executive Vice President of Azure Jason Zander about the issue, all he would say is "We're always adding more capacity."