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Microsoft Migrates Hotmail From FreeBSD to Windows 2000

By espo812 in MLP
Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 07:00:43 PM EST
Tags: Software (all tags)

Microsoft released this case study on moving Hotmail from FreeBSD and Apache to Windows 2000 and IIS.

If you recall previously Microsoft attempted to move Hotmail to NT but suffered horribly. I will be the first to admit that Windows 2000 is a better product than Windows NT4.


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Microsoft Migrates Hotmail From FreeBSD to Windows 2000 | 17 comments (14 topical, 3 editorial, 0 hidden)
Shouldn't this be titled... (3.28 / 14) (#1)
by Estanislao Martínez on Wed Apr 11, 2001 at 08:27:27 PM EST

... "Hotmail about to collapse under load"?


uh no (3.12 / 8) (#2)
by tetsuo on Wed Apr 11, 2001 at 09:27:04 PM EST

given that the article states they were moved over in june/july 2000.

What with the facts rendering that comment immediately unfunny, I offer forth the following replacement joke, to be read at the viewers discretion:

Bill Gates dies and is up at the pearly gates.
St Peter: "Well, you've got a choice. Have a look around here. Pop down to Hell and see what Satan has to offer. Check us out, and then let me know your decision."
Bill has a look around heaven. Lots of somber people singing hymns, praising the Lord.
He goes down to Hell. There are beautiful beaches, lots of sun, sand, attractive women.
Long cool drinks that never get you drunk. He loves it. He goes back to St Peter.
Gates: "Look, I know you're really doing good things here, but Hell seems more with it. More my kind of scene, you know what I mean? No hard feelings, but I pick Hell."
St Peter: "No worries. You've got it."
Bill finds himself back in Hell, neck deep in fire and brimstone, suffering eternal torment. He can't figure it out.
Gates: "Hey! St Peter! Where are the beautiful girls and long beaches and cool drinks?"
St Peter: "Sorry if you got confused, That was just the beta version!"

[ Parent ]
*5000* servers (3.33 / 3) (#3)
by rebelcool on Wed Apr 11, 2001 at 09:32:15 PM EST

wow. Boy would I hate to write software to make all that work together..yikes.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site

Costs??? (5.00 / 9) (#4)
by Global-Lightning on Wed Apr 11, 2001 at 10:07:45 PM EST

That's the first time I've ever seen a business case presented without any mention of the costs involved!

Putting on my PHB hat, some things I'd like to see:

  • What were the operating costs of maintaining the service under Free/BSD compaired against Win2k/IIS? This should take into account the need for less servers, and presumable reduced staffing needs.
  • What were the conversion costs, especially licensing? Indeed, I'd like to see how all of the software was licensed. Other conversion points to take into account may include retraining staff, any upgrades to hardware, and disposing of obsolete items
  • Will this conversion pay for itself by improving profitability, decreasing costs, or both?
  • When do you break even? That's the point where your reduced operating costs and added profitability payoff the conversion costs. If this takes two years or more, you may have to recalculate to take into account the cost of upgrading to Win2K's successor

The obvious guess would be (4.00 / 2) (#6)
by Demona on Wed Apr 11, 2001 at 11:11:02 PM EST

that Microsoft doesn't have to pay for their own software.

[ Parent ]
Yes, but.... (5.00 / 2) (#15)
by a life in hell on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 06:59:47 PM EST

The major cost with a service like hotmail isn't the cost of purchasing the software, but the ongoing cost of maintaining it over time (The so-called "Total Cost of Ownership").

It would be very interesting to see a set of figures for freebsd TCO vs. Windows 2000 TCO on a service like this. The fact that microsoft hasn't provided such figures, when attempting to use the example to convince business people (to whom the $ is king) to use their OS, is a very telling sign that they are not confident of their ability to keep up in this regard.

I actully like windows 2000 (Tho I have freebsd on my current server), for the record, but an article like this does a lot to convince me *not* to use it on a server, because of this very major omission on their part.

[ Parent ]
I wonder... (2.00 / 1) (#5)
by Zeram on Wed Apr 11, 2001 at 10:42:05 PM EST

if it would be possible to "slashdot" hotmail? =)

Like Anime? In the Philly metro area? Welcome to the machine...
I tried.... (3.00 / 1) (#10)
by espo812 on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 07:38:11 AM EST

I submitted this to /. too, and it was rejected. Maybe they'll put it up in a month or two...

Censorship is un-American.
[ Parent ]
That's all very nice, but.. (4.25 / 4) (#9)
by fink on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 02:59:33 AM EST

.. for about the past month, I've not been able to log in (much less clear out my mailbox). Every time I try, the server I end up connected to ends up either timing out, or I get "software caused connection to abort". Sure, it had happened regularly before, but it appears to be worse now. It doesn't appear to be a local problem, because it happens from work as well.

Oh well, good thing it's only my spamtrap.

Still, well done to them - finally doing it. I don't like windows any more than I did already (not a lot, let me tell you right here and now...), but it's a start.

`course, it looks like they'll be undoing all that good work the instant XP comes out. Sigh.


Here's some comments from Netcraft (4.80 / 5) (#12)
by khallow on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 11:54:00 AM EST

Netcraft runs a monthly survey of webservers. In their archived reports from July, 2000 and August, 2000 they describe the Hotmail switchover to Windows 2000.

In July, 2000:

HotMail has commenced its much awaited migration to a Microsoft operating system. Some Windows 2000 machines have recently been moved into the load balancing pool, with currently between 90-95% of requests being served by the established FreeBSD/Apache platform, and 5-10% from Windows 2000. The Hotmail site infrastructure is enormous, and even if everything runs smoothly, a migration will likely take several weeks.

In August, 2000:

The migration of the www.hotmail.com front end from FreeBSD to Windows 2000 seems to be complete with all recent requests from the site served from Windows 2000 machines and no evidence of any FreeBSD/Apache machines remaining in the load balancing pool. Microsoft will be pleased with this as the migration was completed in less than a month, without any reports of service disruption, and the site has previously been a beacon for open source evangelism.

So the transistion appears to have been pretty smooth.

Stating the obvious since 1969.

REALITY CHECK: Transition is by no means complete. (4.80 / 5) (#13)
by hotcurry on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 02:28:11 PM EST

The site ad.law3.hotmail.com is running Apache/1.2.6 on FreeBSD
ad.law4.hotmail.com is running Apache/1.2.6 on FreeBSD.
ad.law7.hotmail.com is running Apache/1.2.6 on FreeBSD.
gfx.law7.hotmail.com is running Microsoft-IIS/5.0 on Windows 2000.
law2-ad.hotmail.com is running Apache/1.2.6 on FreeBSD.
law4.oe.hotmail.com is running Microsoft-IIS/5.0 on Windows 2000.
law7.oe.hotmail.com is running Microsoft-IIS/5.0 on Windows 2000.
www.hotmail.com.ua is running Apache/1.3.14 (Unix) PHP/4.0.3pl1 rus/PL30.0 on FreeBSD.

Ok, so they're brave, at least (2.50 / 2) (#14)
by weirdling on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 04:19:58 PM EST

I have to commend Microsoft on at least trying to use their own server software on their own servers. Don't know how successful it will be.
However, since it is relatively obvious that they haven't finished the migration, but Netcraft says they have, I'm getting the distinct smell of Flounder. Welcome to made up numbers and misleading information 101.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
Interesting (4.00 / 1) (#16)
by fvw on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 07:52:12 PM EST

[/home/fvw] telnet www.hotmail.com 80
Connected to www.hotmail.com.
Escape character is '^]'.
HTTP/1.1 302 Redirected
Server: Microsoft-IIS/5.0
Date: Thu, 12 Apr 2001 23:57:06 GMT
Location: http://lc2.law5.hotmail.passport.com/cgi-bin/login

Connection closed by foreign host.

Interesting, they're violating http protocol (note the single enter after the HEAD). Not that it's a problem, but do IIS servers do this?

No, not all servers do. (none / 0) (#17)
by jcs on Sat Apr 14, 2001 at 09:19:35 PM EST

jcs@poptart:~> telnet x.x.x.x 80
Trying x.x.x.x...
Connected to x.x.x.x.
Escape character is '^]'.

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Server: Microsoft-IIS/5.0
Date: Sun, 15 Apr 2001 01:22:16 GMT
Connection: Keep-Alive
Content-Length: 1270
Content-Type: text/html
Cache-control: private

[ Parent ]
Microsoft Migrates Hotmail From FreeBSD to Windows 2000 | 17 comments (14 topical, 3 editorial, 0 hidden)
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