Skip to content

How Office improves without customers even noticing

While a lot of Word, Excel and PowerPoint might appear to be the same for decades, there’s a lot of work happening ‘under the hood’ to keep Office working.

Gilad Oren at Microsoft has written an interesting piece on how the whole real-time collaboration feature in Microsoft Office has been changed to make it faster and more reliable.

The Office RTC (real time communication) code was made on top of Microsoft .NET 4.7.2 and needed updating to .NET v5.  That’s not a simple transition because v5 doesn’t have key features that the existing code relies on.  So the team had to write their own ‘middleware’ to replace these elements.

All that work was worth it because of the results:

  • 30% CPU usage decrease,
  • 30% cost reduction for virtual machines.
  • 60% less memory use and time spent ‘garbage collection’ (in memory).
  • improved latency by 50%

Almost all of that benefit is on Microsoft’s servers so the immediate beneficiary of all this work is Microsoft itself. The company can do more with fewer machines in their massive server farms.

Customers also benefit from the faster and more reliable immediate links between shared documents. Anyone who has used real-time document collaboration over the years will know that the feature works a LOT better now than it did when Microsoft first boasted about it.

It’s this kind of unseen work that makes those improvements possible.

And the work isn’t over.  Since the Microsoft team decided to move to .NET v5 in 2021, there’s now .NET v8 and a new core server technology, Kestrel.  So the team is now looking at more improvements and migration ‘behind the scenes’.

Check out Microsoft Office’s RTC (Real-Time Channel) migration to modern .NET

One person Comments in Word
Four ways to sync multiple personal OneDrive accounts

About this author

Office Watch is the independent source of Microsoft Office news, tips and help since 1996. Don't miss our famous free newsletter.