Photosynth Loves Windows Azure

Photosynth stores a LOT of data. Today we have more than a million synths and panos, and the number is rising rapidly. So far we've accumulated more than 40 terabytes (TB) of data representing more than 100 terapixels.

When we launched Photosynth more than three years ago Microsoft didn't have a general-purpose cloud-based storage and distribution network, so we used a partner to provide storage and CDN (Content Distribution Network) services. But things have changed dramatically in the last few years, and our own  Windows Azure is now among the strongest cloud solutions in the industry. We're excited to be "eating our own dog food", as we say, and moving every last Photosynth pixel to Azure.

It started this morning. Right now 1/2 the uploads are being directed to Azure, and served worldwide via Azure's CDN. If all goes well, we'll increase this to 100% within a few days, and then start migrating the 40 TB of existing content from our partner's data center into Azure. That process will likely take a number of weeks, but should not interfere with your ability to view old synths/panos or upload new ones.

You shouldn't be able to tell the difference between a synth or pano hosted on Azure verses our old storage system, but just in case there are some glitches in the worldwide CDN, I've included 3 comparisons below. Please leave a comment on this page or send an email to if you see any significant differences (particularly in loading speed) between the two storage solutions.


Medium-Sized Synth on Azure
Yes --in case you were wondering, this one does appear to be a forensics class homework assignment! Check out the other synths on this account:

Medium-Sized Synth on Old Storage Sysyem

Desktop Panorama on Azure

Desktop Panorama on Old Storage System


Mobile Panorama on Azure

Mobile Panorama on Old Storage System


Please leave us a comment if you see any significant difference in loading performance or speed to "resolve" the image when you zoom in, and please tell us what city and country you tried this from.

Much appreciated,
The Photosynth Team




Comments (10)

  1. Nicolas Boonaert says:

    It seems like the tiles in some panoramas are loading faster on the new system ( but the differences from here are not that big.

    Info: 100MB/100MB fiber – Lille, France

  2. Kit says:

    Mind update us the Windows Phone version of the app as promised? I guess you guys have all the needed APIs to make it happen, just want to see if there's any updates.

  3. Maurice says:

    I hope we get that promised Mango app soon. I'd love to get in on some of this goodness.

  4. Scott says:

    It seems faster (noticiable in a 2 Mb/s network). 🙂

  5. Joe says:

    Photosynth hates windows phone apparently.

  6. Guest says:

    40TB wow! And it's all free. Keep up the good work guys.

  7. Andrew says:

    Tutorial on the last sample is good

  8. Paul Buehler says:

    Does this mean the 5gb limit might be lifted in the future.

    While 40tb does seem rather small given the size of Bing maps, I would hope that the publicity MS gains via Bing maps linked images would stimulate wider use of Photosynth by the general public, and so a much larger data set..

  9. David Gedye, Lead Program Manager for Photosynth says:

    Paul —

    We are happy to raise people's storage limits beyond 5GB if they are creating public synths/panos of general interest.  If you would like your limit raised, please send an email to and include your Photosynth account name.  Thanks, David.

  10. Rui Marinho says:

    How about some new apis for developers using cloud power to process images on the silverlight / windows 8 platform?!

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