Blog Archives

Developing and managing Hotmail

This interview has already been picked up and commented upon (and /.’ed), but if you have not yet taken a look, I recommend reading this ACM piece on Hotmail, and what it means to manage one of the largest services of the web. Hotmail runs on 10,000 servers and involves several petabytes of storage (i.e millions of gigabytes) and serves, according to this Wikipedia article, 221M users who are operating billions of e-mail transactions daily. It is operated by 100 sysadmins, which is not that large a team.

Phil Smoot, the PM in charge of Hotmail product development out of the Microsoft Silicon Valley campus, shares a number of insights – from which I noted the following points regarding automation, versionning, capacity planning, impact analysis and QA:

QA is a challenge in the sense that mimicking Internet loads on our QA lab machines is a hard engineering problem. The production site consists of hundreds of services … Read more »


Why privacy matters: Challenges and Opportunities

Microsoft hosted today a Valley Speakers Series, on "Why privacy matters: Challenges and Opportunities". It was moderated by Moira Gunn, host of NPR’s "Tech Nation" (now podcasted on ITConversations), and featured Scott Shipman, privacy counsel at eBay Inc.; Barbara Lawler, chief privacy officer at HP; Peter Cullen, chief privacy strategist at Microsoft; and Fran Maier, executive director and president of TRUSTe.

I thought that, with such a set of panelists, we would be able to get quite a bit of perspective on what is being developed around both privacy, identity protection and federated identity. Unfortunately, and it might been a case of over-expectations, a lot of time was spent on current issues and current, limited, solutions. Interesting, but I had a sense of a missed opportunity.

I noted the following points:

G8 countries have decided to enforce data retention by ISPs in order to make sure that hacker intrusions, path, data changes,… could be traced through the multiple hops … Read more »