And since there was no pressure from Microsoft to use Azure, LinkedIn continues to build and maintain its own compute infrastructure.
Since 2012, LinkedIn has been running its own data centers. At that time, when it was still an independent company, its officials decided to cease relying on third-party datacenters.
After Microsoft bought LinkedIn in 2016, Redmond has stuck to its strategy of largely letting LinkedIn go its own way. That meant that LinkedIn often built its own technologies, as much as Microsoft has alternatives, and continued to use non-Microsoft ones when its officials made a decision to do so.
In 2017, a year after Microsoft’s acquisition, LinkedIn officials still said publicly that LinkedIn planned to continue to manage and control its own infrastructure for the foreseeable future.
But that seems to have changed.
Yesterday, July 23, 2019, via a blog post to the LinkedIn Engineering Blog, LinkedIn officials indicated there’s been a change of plans. And LinkedIn’s public cloud of choice is Azure. Given that LinkedIn is part of Microsoft, moving to Azure seems to be an obvious choice as LinkedIn looks to scale its infrastructure to drive the next stage of growth.
The company announced a multi-year migration that will involve the service moving its infrastructure to Microsoft Azure. Thus you can expect all LinkedIn workloads to be running in the Azure public cloud maybe after three years.
The move comes more than three years after Microsoft acquired LinkedIn for $26.2 billion. This was announced in June 2016 and the deal closed in December 2016.
LinkedIn now has more than 645 million members. This went up by almost 50% from when Microsoft announced the purchase. The business social network represents about 5% of Microsoft’s revenue.
Microsoft has emerged as the clear No. 2 in cloud infrastructure, behind Amazon Web Services, and has been pulling more of its internal services over to Azure.
Senior Vice President of Engineering, Mohak Shroff, 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. Meaning that LinkedIn is already using Azure in different ways, but not for running its main service.
“That success, coupled with the opportunity to leverage the relationship we’ve built with Microsoft, made Azure the obvious choice. 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,” he said.
Shroff’s blog post says LinkedIn will be moving all its workloads to the public cloud over multiple years.
But moving to Azure will mean LinkedIn’s own datacenters will eventually be made redundant, and the company says it’s not certain as to when those datacentes will be shut down.
Some of the datacenters may still be used for other purposes, and LinkedIn says it isn’t expecting any layoffs in them for now.