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Cloud and SaaS providers prepare for increased demand as millions telecommute due to COVID-19 fears

News item: March 19, 2020

Dozens of digital productivity and collaboration tool providers like Microsoft and Zoom have seen massive upticks in usage across China, Italy, and the US because of the coronavirus.

This article was written by Tech Republic. See the full news article here.

Hundreds of enterprises across the world are now telling their employees to work from home as governments try to stop the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus globally. In addition to the cancellation of major conferences and other events, many workplaces are now preempting government quarantines by asking people to take advantage of a variety of new technology designed to allow employees to work from anywhere.

In countries with major outbreaks like China, Italy, and now the United States, enterprises have already had to deal with a massive influx of people using cloud platforms and SaaS providers to work from home.

Popular tools like Microsoft Teams have already had to deal with outages in Europe, and other companies have faced issues handling the increase in demand from teleworkers.

TechRepublic spoke with industry analysts and representatives from SaaS providers about the influx of users and what problems may occur with more people working from home.

What people should and should not be worried about

Dr. Craig Lowery, research director at Gartner, said no one should have fears that the internet will collapse now that more people are working from home and utilizing cloud platforms or SaaS systems. But the situation may vary depending on where you live and work.

“There’s definitely an increased telepresence because of different attempts in different countries to contain the coronavirus. A lot of that connectivity depends on the public internet, so definitely there is an increase in the load. The way the internet was designed, it was intended to survive these kinds of stressful situations,” Lowery said.

“So it’s not going to fall down or completely stop. But it will see some changes in quality of service, like response times, and will be very much dependent upon the network infrastructure in different regions, how well things are wired up, are there multiple points of presence? You’ll see different degrees of impact along the way that packets could be routed. As long as there are multiple paths across it, things will still work,” he added.

There will be an increase in traffic but the internet is already stressed with the influx of smartphones. The real problems may arise with companies that are providing telepresence and teleworking solutions. While they may rejoice at more people needing to use their systems, there should be very real concerns about how some of these platforms scale.

Assuming these applications are built to be horizontally scalable and are built in the public clouds like AWS, Azure, and Google, they will be able to expand and handle the influx by distributing the load out to different parts of the network, Lowery said.


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