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Microsoft IT

The Setup Behind Microsoft.com 412

Posted by kdawson
from the matter-of-scale dept.
Toreo asesino writes "Jeff Alexander gives an insight into how Microsoft runs its main sites. Interesting details include having no firewall, having to manage 650 GB of IIS logs every day, and the use of their yet unreleased Windows Server 2008 in a production environment.
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The Setup Behind Microsoft.com

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 13, 2007 @12:15PM (#21684425)
    is have some crazy sys admins throw chairs around.
  • "Windows Server 2008 in a production environment."

    So even MS has given up on Vista.
    • by EvanED (569694) <evaned@@@gmail...com> on Thursday December 13, 2007 @12:16PM (#21684463)
      Vista was never meant as a server. Same as XP isn't used as a server, it's Server 2003.
      • by nuckfuts (690967)
        Interestingly, I noticed that when pre-GUI disk checking occurs on Server 2008 it says "Windows Vista" at the top of the screen.

        At least this is true with the version I'm testing - June 2007 CTP (Community Technology Preview). I expect in later versions this will be obscured.

    • by JCSoRocks (1142053) on Thursday December 13, 2007 @12:26PM (#21684619)
      Tis a sad day when the fanbois can't even get their insults right. shameful.
      • by vtscott (1089271) on Thursday December 13, 2007 @12:39PM (#21684865)
        And of course it's already been modded up (at least only as funny). To clarify why the GP is wrong, from the wikipedia entry [wikipedia.org] on Windows server 2008:

        Windows Server 2008 introduces most of the new features from Windows Vista to Windows Server. This is a similar relationship to that between Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP.

        Gotta give credit to MS for eating their own dog food...

        Allow incoming connection on port 80? Confirm/deny

        • by ashridah (72567) on Thursday December 13, 2007 @01:24PM (#21685569)
          Which we do on a regular basis. Every few weeks I see emails going around from higher-ups asking us to test their team's RC or beta stuff at home for them, and the project I'm working on has been dependent on VS2008 since beta2. Everyone here has their favourite project they like to keep tabs on. I've got longhorn server 2008 running on one of my machines here.

          That said, the choice to use longhorn server in production isn't actually a bad one. It's really, REALLY stable. I keep hearing (from people both inside and outside the company) that it's more stable than 2003 is (and 2003 has the benefits of multiple service packs). It's also a lot more configurable about what it runs, and how much of it it enables when it's installed. I wouldn't bet the entire stable on it, but I'd be willing to put money on it getting a place.

          All in all, it's pretty sweet, if you look at it from the sysadmin perspective. Also, the stuff you can setup when you couple it with vista is really nice (from a security standpoint, particularly). That said, some of that functionality is being backported to XP with SP3 or whatever.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by misleb (129952)
            Ok, but is the OS *still* organized like crap? I mean, is C:\Windows still a dumping ground for a bunch of arbitrarily named data files, log files, drivers, and libraries using, for the most part, the old 8.3 naming convention?
            • by ashridah (72567) on Thursday December 13, 2007 @04:48PM (#21687930)
              Ok, but is the OS *still* organized like crap? I mean, is C:\Windows still a dumping ground for a bunch of arbitrarily named data files, log files, drivers, and libraries using, for the most part, the old 8.3 naming convention?

              Dude, if you can't hack that right now, how are you dealing with unix instead?

              If any platform's based on a standard of bizarre naming due to space saving stupidity, that's it. Far more so than windows. Infact, name any mature platform that's based on reasonable standards for it's underlying API's and structure.

              Didn't think you could. While it's true that things like the FHS are helping on the unix side, try telling an oldschool developer like oracle that they need to follow it. They'll laugh. and laugh.

              and laugh.

              Windows is in much the same position. At least .NET has made this significantly less painful, because it was considered ahead of time (it's not much easier to actually manage, but that's the tools more than anything, and just takes a bit of experience.... which unsurprisingly, is what dealing with the idiosyncracies of the old systems take anyway!)

              ash
              • by misleb (129952) on Thursday December 13, 2007 @06:28PM (#21689672)

                Dude, if you can't hack that right now, how are you dealing with unix instead?


                Because at least Unix has conventions.

                If any platform's based on a standard of bizarre naming due to space saving stupidity, that's it.


                Really? Ok, lets open up C:\Windows on one of our Windows servers. Hmmm a folder named "$hf_mig$". I suppose you know what that means or what convention that follows? Or C:\Windows\adam. Kinda looks like it might be some directory tools. Maybe ADAM = Active Directory AdMinistration? What's that doing there anyway? I could keep going down the list. I suppose there is a very good reason why there are .BMP files in C:\Windows? Desktop wallpapers? Come on. I wonder if they're related the other brilliantly named files such as SET2.tmp and SET3.tmp in that same directory. And don't get me started on the insanity that is C:\Windows\System32. Hardly a single file/folder that doesn't use 8.3 naming. I haven't clue what have that stuff is doing there.

                Infact, name any mature platform that's based on reasonable standards for it's underlying API's and structure.


                First of all, I was only talking about superficial organization. And if you want to see something nice, have a look at OS X some time. Not only is the System (/System) well organized, but most applications are neatly self contained in /Applications/Some.app. They usually don't spew files all over the place when installed. You know where the term DLL Hell comes from, don't you?

                Didn't think you could. While it's true that things like the FHS are helping on the unix side, try telling an oldschool developer like oracle that they need to follow it. They'll laugh. and laugh.


                I could give fuck-all what Oracle thinks. My Debian systems are very well organized, thank you very much. I don't find desktop wallpapers in /usr/lib. I don't find temporary files for applications in /usr/bin. FreeBSD is even cleaner. The system files never change unless I explicitly do an upgrade. All supplementary software (ports, mostly) goes in /usr/local. With Windows, on the other hand, who knows what strange and wonderful new files I might find dumped in C:\Windows tomorrow. Maybe $hf_mig2$. WHich would be version 2.0 of whtever that is, i guess.

                -matthew

                • by ashridah (72567) on Thursday December 13, 2007 @06:56PM (#21690072)
                  Because at least Unix has conventions.

                  Conventions are a nice way of saying "that's the way it's always been, so that's the way it stays." Windows has similar problems left over from legacy, going all the way back to CP/M. Yes, this sucks, but so does some conventions in unixland. Just ask a Solaris 10 admin how much it sucks when your upstream vendor breaks decades-long convention.

                  Really? Ok, lets open up C:\Windows on one of our Windows servers. Hmmm a folder named "$hf_mig$". I suppose you know what that means or what convention that follows? Or C:\Windows\adam. Kinda looks like it might be some directory tools. Maybe ADAM = Active Directory AdMinistration? What's that doing there anyway? I could keep going down the list. I suppose there is a very good reason why there are .BMP files in C:\Windows? Desktop wallpapers? Come on. I wonder if they're related the other brilliantly named files such as SET2.tmp and SET3.tmp in that same directory. And don't get me started on the insanity that is C:\Windows\System32. Hardly a single file/folder that doesn't use 8.3 naming. I haven't clue what have that stuff is doing there.

                  You're not looking in the right place. Microsoft, love it or hate it, worked out a long time ago that 'filename' and 'metadata' aren't necessarily the same thing. The filename and path are just handy locational indexes, and don't necessarily need to mean *anything*. Sure, a DLL can, and often, for newer stuff, IS far longer than 8.3, but it wasn't until later versions of NT (3.5/4.0, I don't remember my history too well) that support for it kicked in well enough, and there's some legacy stuff around. You don't break legacy just because it's fun. Microsoft gets this right, even if they had to tread over it a fair bit in vista, and add some nasty hacks to deal with most of the fallout.

                  Anyway, as I was saying, you're not looking in the right place. Case study: C:\windows\system32\apss.dll: Microsoft(r) InfoTech Storage System Library.
                  Problem solved. (it's not at all difficult to use something like powershell (or possibly other tools) to just print this out in a souped up version of ls with a little scripting, I might add, just like I can do a few similar scripting tricks on my debian system to tell you who owns the copyright to 90% of .so's in /usr/lib.)

                  Want another one?

                  c:\windows\System32\bitsigd.dll: Background Intelligent Transfer Service IGD Support

                  Oh look, another one, fully named.

                  Of course, this starts to fall down when the file doesn't contain metadata, but that's a problem for, say, XML schema files in /usr/share/ on linux too. The organisation might be a bit better, but not by much. The saving grace there is that I have dpkg to work shit out for me. .NET goes even further. You can register as many different versions of a namespace as you like, and .NET will do the mapping for you if you request a specific version.

                  First of all, I was only talking about superficial organization. And if you want to see something nice, have a look at OS X some time. Not only is the System (/System) well organized, but most applications are neatly self contained in /Applications/Some.app. They usually don't spew files all over the place when installed. You know where the term DLL Hell comes from, don't you?

                  Yes. I do. .NET does a good job of solving this quite nicely. Adds public/private keys into the mix too, plus a bunch of other mechanisms. .NET isn't just for C# either. It deals with VB, C++, and (ahahahha) J# too.
                  I will admit that the mac platform is neatly arranged, but their QA seems to have gone to the toilet right now. A place that windows' QA has emerged from rather nicely, I should mention.

                  As for random stuff appearing in random places, try dealing with commercial software. Even on linux, the developers will put shit in strange places. Open
                  • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                    by misleb (129952)

                    You're not looking in the right place. Microsoft, love it or hate it, worked out a long time ago that 'filename' and 'metadata' aren't necessarily the same thing. The filename and path are just handy locational indexes, and don't necessarily need to mean *anything*.

                    But you can have both... Metadata and reasonably named "locational indexes". Is it so strange to think that people, particularly administrators, might want to have some idea what a file does and why it is there just be noting its "locational i

    • by ByOhTek (1181381) on Thursday December 13, 2007 @12:33PM (#21684761) Journal
      Windows Server 2008 is (or rather, will be) effectively "Windows Vista Server Edition", just as Windows Server 2003 is effectively "Windows XP Server Edition".
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Amouth (879122)
        i resent that - i personaly feel that xp and server 2003 have next to nothing in common with each other - XP is annoying crap - server 2003 on the other hand is quite nice and one of the first server implementations i have seen MS push out that i actualy look forward to installing on something - because it realy does jsut work. 2008 seems intresting but i am going to hold off migration till 2003 is in the stages to stop reciving updates.
  • by mrtroy (640746) on Thursday December 13, 2007 @12:16PM (#21684447)
    No firewall? Of course not!

    Microsoft servers are notorious for their invulnerability.
    • by great_snoopy (736076) on Thursday December 13, 2007 @12:19PM (#21684511)
      Of course they have a firewall, just watch the difference between a tcptraceroute to a public port (like 80) and tcptraceroute to the same ip but some other port (like 110 pop3 for example). You'll see that packets get dropped at some point indicating a firewall. It's not a RST (port closed) it's just dropping packets for nonpublic services. That is a packet filtering firewall.
    • by oliderid (710055) on Thursday December 13, 2007 @12:22PM (#21684545) Journal
      from the article:
      "...At this point we still don't use firewalls for MS.COM..."

      and then

      "Router ACLs are in place to block unnecessary ports"

      blocking unnecessary ports is a firewall feature (IMHO ?)

      Anyway it looks quite impressive. I still don't understand how to handle 650 GB of logs :-).

      • by MstrFool (127346) on Thursday December 13, 2007 @12:29PM (#21684679)
        Well, remember the story a while back about MS using Linux for some things? I think we just found where they use it. Storing their logs in /dev/nul is the most likely way they deal with 650 GB of logs.
      • by allenw (33234) on Thursday December 13, 2007 @12:33PM (#21684735) Homepage Journal
        Large scale log processing isn't hard if you have the right tools [apache.org]. :)
      • by dave420 (699308)
        Having wheels is a feature of a car - that doesn't make my bike a car :)
      • by MightyYar (622222)

        I still don't understand how to handle 650 GB of logs
        That the government wants them to store :)
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Anyway it looks quite impressive. I still don't understand how to handle 650 GB of logs :-).

        My question is why are the logs in ASCII text format? When all you want is say the IP [4 bytes], time of day [4 bytes], URI, referrer and return code [do you really care about their browser strings? You are MS after all, just assume it's IE].

        Storing an IP as text requires on average 15 bytes, so right there you can shave off 11 bytes with a binary IP. Time of day is worse, a date+time string is like 25 chars. Doe
        • by lena_10326 (1100441) on Thursday December 13, 2007 @04:22PM (#21687504) Homepage

          My question is why are the logs in ASCII text format? When all you want is say the IP [4 bytes], time of day [4 bytes], URI, referrer and return code [do you really care about their browser strings? You are MS after all, just assume it's IE]. Storing an IP as text requires on average 15 bytes, so right there you can shave off 11 bytes with a binary IP. Time of day is worse, a date+time string is like 25 chars. Doesn't seem like much, but multiply the 32 bytes per entry you save by say 50 million hits and that's 1.5Gbyte you saved. That's not counting the white space you can remove, and a simple huffman code you could apply to the URL/referrer.

          Logging in fixed format is not more efficient than variable format text files (unless we're talking about transactions but we're not). Let's assume you're logging the basics: IP address, Timestamp, Return code, URI and we'll look at logging in fixed format then variable format.

          [abcd] [timestmap] [code] [URI]
          4 bytes 8 bytes 1 byte 50 bytes (you actually need 2 bytes for HTTP return code, but let's ignore that)

          Every record will require 63 bytes and we'll round up to 64 for proper word alignment). So, if we log 1000 messages, we will consume 64,000 bytes total.

          Ok. Now for text logging with space delimiters. We have 3 options below, each requiring slightly less space than the previous. We'll run totals for each.

          123.567.890.123 YYYYMMDDHHMMSS x URI...............\n
          16 bytes 15 bytes 2 bytes 50 bytes 1 byte

          123.567.890.123 1197572382 x URI...............\n (UNIX time)
          16 bytes 11 bytes 2 bytes 50 bytes 1 byte

          1235678901231197572382xURI...............\n (UNIX time)
          12 bytes 10 bytes 1 bytes 50 bytes 1 byte

          16 + 15 + 2 + 50 + 1 = 84 bytes * 1000 = 84,000 bytes
          16 + 11 + 2 + 50 + 1 = 80 bytes * 1000 = 80,000 bytes
          12 + 10 + 1 + 50 + 1 = 74 bytes * 1000 = 74,000 bytes

          Wow. Fixed binary format kicks variable text format's ass. Wrong. This assumes the URI (or message) block will always occupy 50 bytes. It will not. Let's go right down the middle and assume it averages 25 bytes and we'll recalculate.

          16 + 15 + 2 + 25 + 1 = 59 bytes * 1000 = 59,000 bytes
          16 + 11 + 2 + 25 + 1 = 55 bytes * 1000 = 55,000 bytes
          12 + 10 + 1 + 25 + 1 = 49 bytes * 1000 = 49,000 bytes

          Variable text format almost always beats fixed binary format for logging. That's why Microsoft (and the rest of the world) stores log files as text. Plus, it's far easier to manage and debug when you can slice and dice the files with standard command line tools.

          One more thing. I know what you might be thinking. We're logging URLS, which will probably consume the majority of the 50 byte allotment. Most developers will calculate an average width size and double it, so no matter what we'll still be filling about 50% of the message section.

          Last point. If I were to use your example, the savings with text logging would even be greater. 2 URLS would be stored, both consuming about 50% of their data block. IP address, timestamp, URI, Referrer URI, Return Code. There's also a bunch of other little optimizations you can do such as storing the domain, year, month, and day in the filename rather than in the data or dropping the least significant byte in the HTTP return code.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by lena_10326 (1100441)
            I should have included this in my previous post. A real world example (1Kb for storing a URI path and 2Kb for a full URI) would drive home the point even more. Just for shits and giggles let's do something closer to a real example.

            Fixed binary

            [IP address] [Timestamp] [Method] [Path(/path/to/script.cgi)] [HTTP Version] [Return Code] [Referrer(http://from.domain.com?file.html)]

            4 + 8 + 1 + 1024 + 1 + 2 + 2048 = 3088 bytes * 1000 = 3,088,000 bytes

            Variable text

            [IP address] [Timestamp] [Method] [Path(

      • I wonder if Morgan Stanley [ms.com] knows they are outsourcing their webfarm to Microsoft's I.T. department....

        -theGreater.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Using router ACLs to block ports is pretty much the same thing as using iptables on Linux to filter ports. So, IOW, yes, blocking unnecessary ports on a router means that the router is a firewall. Something is filtering packets and even if it's called a router and not a firewall, that's the function it is serving.

        If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck...
  • Windows and IIS...rock solid and secure! www.microsoft.com is on Windows Server 2008/IIS7, MSDN/TechNet are migrating to Win2k8/IIS7, and update.microsoft.com is on Windows Server 2003/IIS6. We do all the normal shut-off-unused-services practices that line up with MS published security guidance and we utilize GFS images to ensure standardized builds of systems.

    This guy is brainwashed. There should be no unused services turned on by default! Admins shouldn't have to shutoff unused services -- they shouldn't be enabled unless necessary. Also, rock solid and secure? Uh, didn't I read an article not too long ago about how the update.microsoft.com site was broken into?

    • by plague3106 (71849) on Thursday December 13, 2007 @12:26PM (#21684609)
      You realize that Win2k3 does turn off most services by default, and Win2k8 takes this even further by not installing them at all.

      Uh, didn't I read an article not too long ago about how the update.microsoft.com site was broken into?

      Link, please?
      • by jez9999 (618189) on Thursday December 13, 2007 @01:39PM (#21685769) Homepage Journal

        Uh, didn't I read an article not too long ago about how the update.microsoft.com site was broken into?

        Link, please?
        http://update.microsoft.com/ [microsoft.com]
    • by Bert64 (520050)
      And there are some services you cannot easily turn off without breaking things...
      They use router ACLs to drop connections to unused ports, router ACLs cause significant performance hits unless your running really high end kit with hardware firewall service modules. Really, if a port is unused it should be closed, and thus rejected by the target machine.

      Also if they're using router ACLs to filter ports, that *is* a firewall, albeit a fairly crude one.
    • by oliderid (710055)
      "This guy is brainwashed."

      He looks like a man enjoying his job to me.

      "update.microsoft.com"

      Devil's advocate would say:
      If Windows Servers are so insecure
      And microsoft.com is one of the busiest web sites in the world

      Then one major security breach in (+)ten years would mean that there is a pretty good IT team behind. (Which was a Ddos attack if I remind well...It used to be lethal for any architecture at that time)

      • Most of microsoft.com uses distributed Akamai linux servers for protection against DDOS attacks.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by bigstrat2003 (1058574)
          You know, I resent the way people crow whenever Microsoft uses anything that isn't a Microsoft product. You know what? That means they have competent IT professionals working for them, who are objective and recognize what the best tool for a particular job is. Seriously, we should respect them for that, not trumpet it like it's something to be laughed at.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by truthsearch (249536)
            I would agree, if only Microsoft didn't try to brand Linux and open source as evil. If their "Get the Facts" campaign showed Linux' strengths alongside Windows', instead of being one-sided propaganda, then we'd applaud them. But you can't call open source a cancer while using it without getting ridiculed.
    • by tha_mink (518151)

      Uh, didn't I read an article not too long ago about how the update.microsoft.com site was broken into
      Uh...no. The article was about a domain name close to update.microsoft.com being hijacked and used to distribute trojans. I'm actually surprised, considering what a huge trophy it'd be to at least deface their site, that it doesn't ever really happen.
  • by ReallyEvilCanine (991886) on Thursday December 13, 2007 @12:20PM (#21684519) Homepage
    How can anyone complain that they're running Server 2008? My company's software quality dropped considerably when we stopped eating our own dogfood two years ago. When techs, engineers and everyone else is stuck with the same problems as the future ell-users, shit gets fixed a lot faster and a lot better.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by iroll (717924)
      People are complaining?

      ((rereading thread))

      Care to point that out? I'd say most people would be happy that they are using their own product in a critical environment.
      • Not complaining in TFA, but this is /. -- I just anticipated the howls of the unwashed hordes rightfully bitching about yet another "professional" OS with a markedly unprofessional Teletubbies UI which certainly isn't ready for market yet, all while ignoring MS' internal dogfood consumption. I'll bet if enough Microsofties had eaten Office dogfood you could shut off that fucking control-click "Research" panel easily.
        • by ashridah (72567) on Thursday December 13, 2007 @01:42PM (#21685831)
          Not complaining in TFA, but this is /. -- I just anticipated the howls of the unwashed hordes rightfully bitching about yet another "professional" OS with a markedly unprofessional Teletubbies UI which certainly isn't ready for market yet, all while ignoring MS' internal dogfood consumption. I'll bet if enough Microsofties had eaten Office dogfood you could shut off that fucking control-click "Research" panel easily.

          Nevermind that the UI for 2008 is roughly the same as 2003, only with a more extensive (yet still looking clean and fairly spartan with the eyecandy) set of configuration utilities for roles and features. Just wish I could say the same for the control panel. :)

          As for the 'research' panel... okay, I work here at microsoft, and I own my own copies of office at home, and I have no idea what that is. Of course, I'm hardly an office power user.

          You can bet your bottom dollar that office 2007 is all that's in use around most of the company. As is vista, although it tends to be a mixture of vista, xp and 2003/2008 in most offices, usually for a variety of legacy reasons (maintenance of older projects, testing, etc)

          I've got all but XP myself, but only because I haven't needed it to do my job.
    • True that. I wasn't surprised at all. I'd be disappointed if they *weren't* using Server 2008.
      Also, the summary is a little deceiving - although they don't have a firewall they are using the ACL on the router... so it's not like they've just plugged their web server directly into the interwebs - they do have some protection.
  • by VxSote (709833)
    FTA: "Router ACLs are in place to block unnecessary ports" While that might not provide SPI and other benefits of a true firewall, it's still a hell of a lot different than plugging a box into a wide open connection.
  • by orclevegam (940336) on Thursday December 13, 2007 @12:24PM (#21684573) Journal
    Cisco Router: ~$700
    Server to run it on: ~$2000
    Beta testing Microsofts new server 2008 in a production environment: Priceless
    • Re:Priceless... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by BytePusher (209961) on Thursday December 13, 2007 @12:35PM (#21684785) Homepage
      It's called Alpha testing in this case. It's good marketing on their part to say, "We're so sure our software is good we use our pre-Beta software in a production environment." Never mind the fact that they have Server 2003 waiting ready to take over when their 2008 server horks itself.
  • Its like they change the URLs weekly.
    I wonder if its on purpose (to avoid bookmarking) or just bad design.
  • by RandoX (828285)
    What is HBI? A quick search found the following unrelated and unhelpful information:

    HBI Health and Biomedical Information
    HBI Healthcare Building Ideas (magazine)
    HBI Home Builders Institute
    HBI Home Business Institute
    HBI Horizontal Blanking Interval (television)
    HBI Hot Beef Injection (band)
    HBI Hot Briquetted Iron (plant or facility)
    HBI Hubbard Broadcasting Inc.

    Wikipedia: Page does not exist.
  • by thatseattleguy (897282) on Thursday December 13, 2007 @12:31PM (#21684717) Homepage
    Could someone with more Microsoft Kool-Aid in their veins stick their fork in the acronym salad that is this article? ACL (Access Control Lists - which technically are a firewall), DoS (denial of service attacks) and IPS (intrusion protection services) I all know, but WTF are:


    HBI?
    GFS (is the G for "Ghost")?
    NBI?
    NLB?
    ACE?


    TIA :),
    /tsg/

    • by loconet (415875) on Thursday December 13, 2007 @12:43PM (#21684945) Homepage
      Interesting, I thought I was the only one. Why is it that every time I read about Microsoft related technology it's always an acronym salad. Not even commonly used acronyms either, they use acronyms for their own way of calling technology xyz. It's almost like they do it on purpose ..
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 13, 2007 @01:18PM (#21685493)
      GFS: Global Foundation Services. Microsoft's big internal network management thing. It's the people who keep the servers up and running for everything facing outward.

      HBI: High Business Impact. Social Security numbers ,Passport accounts, etc.

      NLB: Network Load Balancer.

      AV: AntiVirus.
      DoS: Denial of Service
      IIS: Internet Information Services. 'httpd' for Windows.
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Thursday December 13, 2007 @12:35PM (#21684805) Journal
    I vaguely recall MSFT had to outsource load balancing to Akamai which used Linux boxes to redistribute the incoming traffic at some point in the past. Looking at Netcraft.com, it shows some subdomains of microsoft.com resolved to Linux boxes before the year 2000. So it is able to get out of the sandbox now? Is that the main story?
  • by teebob21 (947095) on Thursday December 13, 2007 @12:36PM (#21684811) Journal
    Let's set aside the natural urge to bash MS into oblivion. Let's (just for now) ignore conventional advice about network security and firewall use. Now, not only are these guys a Microsoft shop...they ARE Microsoft. MS claims their software is stable and secure. Perhaps it is -- when was the last time microsoft.com was taken down by malevolent hackers?

    That said, with their closed source and closed-doors policy to revealing details about the inner workings of the OS, _Microsoft_ may be the only company that can successfully deploy a 100% Microsoft powered solution. How many registry changes, service daemon modifications, and other tweaks have been made to get their config running this way? The world may never know. It's probably impossible for the consumer world to ever have that level on knowledge about the Windows environment, and thus run it at peak security levels. For most consumers and businesses, a Linux OS with properly implemented firewalls is much more secure than an out-of-the-box Windows deployment and router ACLs.
  • akamai (Score:4, Informative)

    by wwmedia (950346) on Thursday December 13, 2007 @12:58PM (#21685189)
    don't forget the whole slough of Linux servers that they use through Akamai to handle the bandwidth;

    it's one reason why why doing a lookup on Microsoft servers, it often shows that they are running Linux. It's also another reason why people point out that Linux is more scalable because even Microsoft can't eat it's own dogfood.
  • by mpapet (761907) on Thursday December 13, 2007 @01:02PM (#21685259) Homepage
    1. The asshat highlights they use no firewall, and yet buried deeper in the article is this "Router ACLs are in place to block unnecessary ports" That's the functional equivalent of a firewall.

    2. I get into discussions where tech guys spew traffic numbers and I'm never impressed. It creates issues if you want to actually do something with the data which I doubt they do much beyond running the usual marketing metrics. Until you actually shoot for 99.99 service uptime, you begin to comprehend the challenge it is (on any platform) the traffic itself is not the challenge.

    3. I'm very interested in reading what their hardware budget is like. I get excellent performance out of Linux compared to server 2003 boxes on similar compaq dl380's.
  • by QuietLagoon (813062) on Thursday December 13, 2007 @01:03PM (#21685275)
    use of their yet unreleased Windows Server 2008 in a production environment.

    Now there's a best practice that other corporations should follow - the use of test software in a production environment.

  • by sentientbrendan (316150) on Friday December 14, 2007 @12:49AM (#21693744)
    when I try to go to their site:

    "We are currently unable to serve your request

    We apologize, but an error occurred and your request could not be completed.

    This error has been logged. If you have additional information that you believe may have caused this error please report the problem here.
    "

    I think that gives a good demonstration of how they run their site...

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