How much information does a tech giant process in an average day? If you’re Microsoft, and the platform in question is Windows Azure Storage, the answer is more than 4 trillion objects stored, and an average of 270,000 requests per second (peaking at 880,000 requests per second). That’s a significant uptick from a year ago, when Windows Azure Storage crossed the 1-trillion-object mark. Microsoft offers two types of durability for storage, Locally Redundant Storage (LRS) and Geo Redundant Storage (GRS), the latter of which serves as default (and stores six copies of the user’s data across two locations some 400 miles apart). Locally Redundant Storage keeps three copies of the data at a single location. “If your data does not require additional durability of GRS you can use LRS at a 23 percent to 34 percent discounted price (depending on how much data is stored),” Brad Calder, general manager of Windows Azure Storage, wrote in a July 18 blog posting. “In addition, we also employ a sophisticated erasure coding scheme for storing data that provides higher durability than just storing 3 (for LRS) or 6 (for GRS) copies of your data.” In order to handle the increased load, Microsoft opened two new Azure data-center options to customers (“East US” and “West US”) in April. Microsoft recently announced it would bring Windows Azure Web Sites, Virtual Machines, Service Management Portal and APIs to Windows Server. That means hosting providers using Microsoft’s platform will be able to offer client services such as Website hosting and virtual machines (VM). This modified Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) offering will position Microsoft to compete with Amazon and other IaaS providers. Even for a massive company like Microsoft, with billions of dollars and some very smart minds at its disposal, growing and maintaining the infrastructure behind the cloud is a challenge—but a manageable one. Smaller companies, however, could end up squeezed by resource demands if a cloud-based offering suddenly becomes popular; a possibility that needs to be considered more than ever as more and more of the tech industry bends toward the cloud as a delivery medium.   Image: winui/