This is no game: the Seahawks and the Olympics prove how Windows Azure scales for both small and large solutions

Originally published on MSFT for Work on February 28, 2014.

Pop quiz: what does the 2014 Seahawks-49ers playoff game have in common with the 2014 Sochi Olympics? Answer: both events featured websites powered by Windows Azure. For the Seahawks game, the Windows Azure team stepped in to help the small-scale Pacific Northwest Seismic Network (PNSN) run their Fan-O-Meter, a website that measures the 12th Man’s “Beast Quakes.” In Sochi, Windows Azure literally runs every piece of NBC Sports’ coverage. Together, they show how Windows Azure scales and handles jobs from a small nonprofit organization’s fun project to one of the largest sporting events in the world.

Shaking the ground

Microsoft is proud of our home team, the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks. One of the biggest moments of the season actually came before the big game. At the January 12 playoff game against the Saints, seismologists at the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network’s Fan-O-Meter attempted to measure the legendary 12th Man’s “Beast Quakes” after Marshawn Lynch scored. The Fan-O-Meter is accessible to anyone online, and it turned out to be far more popular than the PNSN anticipated. The team’s lone server couldn’t handle the traffic and crashed, and they almost threw in the towel—until the Windows Azure team stepped in to offer an open source solution.

Working long hours through the next week, the team got the measurement site back up and running in time for the January 19 game against the 49ers. 40,000 fans eventually tuned in—a relatively small number, but enormous for the PNSN’s normal traffic load. When the 12th Man made history by creating a seismic spike (a.k.a an earthquake), the Windows Azure server automatically scaled and handled the traffic with ease. The total cost for scaling the server for the extra traffic: $6.

If you’re looking for a way to prepare for an unexpected (or expected!) spike in traffic, Windows Azure has you covered.

Going for the gold

When it comes to enterprise-level scaling, it doesn’t get much bigger than NBC’s coverage of the 2014 Sochi Olympics. With more than 1,000 hours of 98 events broadcast to millions of customers worldwide, NBC decided that partnering with Microsoft and Windows Azure was the gold-medal solution.

Viewers can access live and on-demand content by using the free NBC Sports Live Extra app, available for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Windows 8, and Windows RT devices—or access coverage live from the web at Windows Azure Media Services powers all of these streams, regardless of format and platform.

The Windows Azure cloud platform brings the true power of cloud services beyond just renting IT capacity. NBC’s coverage is proof positive that stability, security, and scalability are hallmarks of using Windows Azure as a media solution.

Your business probably won’t need to stream something as large as the Olympics—but Windows Azure can handle it if you do! If you’re looking for media streaming for a live event, your next commercial, or any other video service you can think of, Windows Azure media services can help.

Your cloud, your way

Whether you’re a small group of seismologists recording a single moment at a single sports event, or an enterprise-level media company handling one of the largest sporting events in history, Windows Azure scales to your needs and provides the infrastructure it takes to get it done. Regardless of your size and requirements, a cloud solution from Windows Azure is the way to move beyond renting storage space and into a full cloud-based infrastructure solution. The time to begin exploring cloud solutions is now.