Microsoft's LinkedIn unit commits to starting to move its services to Azure

In 2017, LinkedIn had no plans to move off its own datacenters, in spite of having been purchased by Microsoft a year earlier. But plans have changed and Azure is (unsurprisingly) its new target.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Since Microsoft bought LinkedIn in 2016, Redmond has stuck to its strategy of mainly letting LinkedIn go its own way. That meant LinkedIn often had built its own technologies, even though Microsoft has alternatives, and/or continued to use non-Microsoft ones when its officials so decided. But it seems the tide is finally turning, in terms of where LinkedIn makes its cloud home.

LinkedIn has been running its datacenters since around 2012. At that time, when it was still an independent company, its officials decided to cease relying on third-party datacenters. In 2017, a year after Microsoft's acquisition, LinkedIn officials always again said publicly that LinkedIn planned to continue to manage and control its own infrastructure for the foreseeable future.

But on July 23, 2019, via a blog post to the LinkedIn Engineering Blog, LinkedIn officials indicated there'd been a change of plans. And LinkedIn's public cloud of choice is Azure, which isn't too surprising, given LinkedIn is part of Microsoft.

Mohak Shroff, senior vice president of engineering, said LinkedIn has been leveraging a "number of Azure technologies" in recent years, including in acceleration of video post-delivery, in machine translation and in keeping inappropriate content off its site.

"That success, coupled with the opportunity to leverage the relationship we've built with Microsoft, made Azure the obvious choice," he said. "Moving to Azure will give us access to a wide array of hardware and software innovations, and unprecedented global scale. This will position us to focus on areas where we can deliver unique value to our members and customers. The cloud holds the future for us, and we are confident that Azure is the right platform to build on for years to come." 

Shroff's blog post says LinkedIn will be moving all its workloads to the public cloud over multiple years... Microsoft moved LinkedIn's 14,000 employees off Google services and to Office 365 over the last couple of years. 

Microsoft officials have been promising for years that Office 365 would one day be moved to Azure, and that still hasn't happened. Xbox Live also does not run on Azure. Instead, Microsoft is introducing new features and apps for Office 365 and Xbox Live on Azure, while leaving the existing legacy base of Office 365 and Xbox Live where they are (running in their own data centers).  

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