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Microsoft Aims To Cure Server-Hugging Engineers

timothy posted about 5 years ago | from the first-step-is-admitting-it dept.

Microsoft 285

1sockchuck writes "Microsoft wants the engineers in its labs to manage their servers remotely, and is moving development servers from a bevy of computer rooms in labs to a new green data center about 8 miles from its Redmond campus. 'I see today as a real transition point in our culture,' said Rob Bernard, chief environmental strategist at Microsoft, who acknowledged that the change will be an adjustment for veteran developers but will save money and energy use. Microsoft expects its customers will run their apps remotely in data centers, and clearly expects the same of its employees."

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lol. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29368471)

welcome to 1970s unix, M$.

Nope, this is very 2000s (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29368813)

This is all about outsourcing.

The more they can develop and use technologies where engineers don't need to be near the machines, the easier it is to fire everyone in western countries and hire people from India, etc...

Not that this necessarily was a bad thing. They do need the work just as much (or well, probably a lot more) than we do.

Re:Nope, this is very 2000s (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29368899)

And when I lose my admin job to someone overseas who will be expected to maintain a system that runs in English even though they cannot anywhere-near-fluently speak the language, my kids can rely on welfare, medicaid, and other forms of Public Assistance.

Re:Nope, this is very 2000s (2, Insightful)

uncqual (836337) | about 5 years ago | (#29369813)

my kids can rely on welfare, medicaid, and other forms of Public Assistance.

Thank you for playing, but nope - there will be insufficient tax revenue to provide those to your kids.

Re:Nope, this is very 2000s (1, Interesting)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 5 years ago | (#29369897)

Thank you for playing, but nope - there will be insufficient tax revenue to provide those to your kids.

Exactly. That's why you need to start collecting guns and cases of ammo. Then when the shit hits the fan, because all the super-wealthy people have bankrupted the country (just as in the last days of the Roman Empire), you'll be able to take what you need by force.

Re:Nope, this is very 2000s (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29369247)

They do need the work just as much (or well, probably a lot more) than we do.

Hmmm, where have you been the last coupla years? Iam one of the remaining 5 in an engineering department that had 27 people 1 1/2 years ago. Just swallowed a 10% paycut to keep my job.

Re:Nope, this is very 2000s (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29369265)

when we run out of unemployed people I'll agree with you.

You clean up your own neighborhood before you worry about one elsewhere.

Re:Nope, this is very 2000s (1)

pete6677 (681676) | about 5 years ago | (#29369297)

Couldn't they just locate some dev servers in India, like companies have been doing for over a decade now?

There will always be some development work that must be done locally, and some can be done from across the world just as easily. It all depends on the task and how much business interaction is required.

Re:Nope, this is very 2000s (3, Funny)

siloko (1133863) | about 5 years ago | (#29369469)

Couldn't they just locate some dev servers in India

We tried that but what we saved in development costs we lost extending all our cat5 . . .

Re:Nope, this is very 2000s (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | about 5 years ago | (#29369395)

I knew I should have been a programmer. As each year goes by my hardware skills become less-and-less useful, because they keep moving the equipment to remote locations and handing-over control to programmers or administrators (or lawyers).

Oh well. (signs up for college). Time to earn that second degree (and maybe score with the ladies for a change).

Re:Nope, this is very 2000s (1)

Reapman (740286) | about 5 years ago | (#29369483)

As someone who is getting into development, I wouldn't say it's a great career choice. I don't think we're any safer from the outsourcing then the hardware guys. I'm in it because i love it, but otherwise I'd get out.

Re:Nope, this is very 2000s (1)

Tiber (613512) | about 5 years ago | (#29370043)

I actually have a degree from Drexel in computer science.

I work as a sysadmin.

Why?

I was working for companies which could afford to outsource and I got tired of the contract-to-contract life, or the developer-to-outsourced-labor life.

They're going to have a hard time replacing the guy who installs and configures the OS, and more importantly get's the outsourced labors application running. Once I figured out the low quality crap was coming in from India and coming in by the boatload, I realized the sysadmin's niche was actually making it work.

I've enjoyed a stable job ever since the lightbulb went on that the sysadmin is the broker of the applications.

Strangely... (2, Insightful)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | about 5 years ago | (#29369939)

As a developer, I've often thought the inverse.

That being said, I think the outsourcing fever has largely run its course in development. More managers have come to learn the hard way that some development can be smart to outsource, but it's a lot less than the "nearly everything" than they thought five years ago.

Re:Nope, this is very 2000s (1, Insightful)

The Cisco Kid (31490) | about 5 years ago | (#29369991)

Yes, MS actually doing what unix did 40 years ago is very "2000s".

Of course, it will also suck, as Winders is completely not designed to be used remotely. Or by more than one person at a time. Even their so-called 'server' versions.

Re:lol. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29369423)

welcome to 1970s unix, M$.

This has nothing to do with technology, it's just the mentality of Microsoft's engineers. This is not a UNIX vs Windows fight, stop trying to make it into one.

First they'll distance then they'll Automate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29369783)

The writing's on the wall for the Service Engineers. Between virtual machines and remote management the hardware problem is becoming more and more of a logical\software problem. Microsoft sells software they're not in the business of hiring extra people. The step from remote service to network service mostly run in software is a short one.
Who do you think wants to sell the software? They'll sell every business software to remove the jobs they automate today.

AC

balls (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29368507)

balls balls balls

Wait what? (2, Insightful)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | about 5 years ago | (#29368525)

I've been remoting into my servers for years, because Microsoft Active Directory and some DNS services makes it so easy...

And Microsoft hasn't?

Re:Wait what? (4, Insightful)

Culture20 (968837) | about 5 years ago | (#29368669)

I remote into my servers too, but do you really want to drive eight miles away to diagnose a potential hardware issue, or relinquish physical control to a dedicated hardware monkey?

Re:Wait what? (3, Informative)

L0rdJedi (65690) | about 5 years ago | (#29368827)

I remote into my servers too, but do you really want to drive eight miles away to diagnose a potential hardware issue, or relinquish physical control to a dedicated hardware monkey?

I already do if I'm working on a server at night and it becomes unresponsive or fails to reboot properly. Work is about 7 miles from home. If the server isn't back up within 10 mins of a restart, it's off to the office to figure out why.

During working hours the only time I need physical access to anything is when I'm changing the backup tapes...that's once a week. I do everything through RDP and VNC.

Re:Wait what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29368935)

you should look into integrated lights-out management from HP, or something similar from your server vendor.

Re:Wait what? (5, Insightful)

PainKilleR-CE (597083) | about 5 years ago | (#29368979)

Most of my servers are ~10 floors over my head and I still have to call someone to let me into the room if I need physical access to them. My production servers are in another state and I doubt anyone on my team has ever seen them. There's a lot to be said about having physical control over the hardware when you want it, but there's also a lot to be said about making it someone else's job to make sure you don't need it. It also teaches you a more proactive approach to server management.

Re:Wait what? (1)

Courageous (228506) | about 5 years ago | (#29369013)

In a virtualized server environment, the problem of keeping the hypervisors up isn't yours. The problem of keeping the virtual servers running, may or may not be yours, but if it is, you will have a control client access layer that is akin to access to the HW.

C//

Re:Wait what? (2, Informative)

afidel (530433) | about 5 years ago | (#29369599)

Yeah except a lot of those engineers are going to be developing the hypervisor for the next generation of Windows Server. Of course then you just use iLo/DRAC/ASM to remote in or use an IP KVM and a port addressable PDU to power cycle the hardware. Heck I'm the guy responsible for the datacenter at my employer and I rarely go into it, it's too noisy and either too hot or too cold depending on which side of the aisle you're on. My DR equipment is colo'd with AT&T several states away and we've needed remote hands once since we moved 6+ months ago and that was for an old IBM server without ASM.

Re:Wait what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29369255)

What's wrong with ssh?

serial console (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29369735)

I already do if I'm working on a server at night and it becomes unresponsive or fails to reboot properly. Work is about 7 miles from home. If the server isn't back up within 10 mins of a restart, it's off to the office to figure out why.

During working hours the only time I need physical access to anything is when I'm changing the backup tapes...that's once a week. I do everything through RDP and VNC.

Old school Unix systems can do hardware diagnostics and reporting over serial console (which is one thing that Linux on x86 usually sucked at--mostly because of the hardware). Newer servers allow you to SSH and get into a console as well.

x86 machines have things like DRAC and iLO (and IPMI), but I've often found those to be flakey and kludgey.

I once logged into a Sun server in Jakarta from my kitchen table in Canada over a 9600 bps modem: VPN into work, dial out from work, log in and fix things.

LOM on x86 is getting better, but the simplicity of a serial port and console server is hard to beat when things have really tanked hardware-wise. Short of swapping physical hardware (disks, P/S), you can do most things remotely with a "proper" Unix-y system.

Re:Wait what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29368921)

Data center is about 21 minutes drive from my current location. If something happens, you have to go. Until I can get the same pipe at my data center dropped at my location for a relative price, it's likely to stay that way too.

Re:Wait what? (1)

siloko (1133863) | about 5 years ago | (#29369393)

Data center is about 21 minutes drive from my current location.

Is that with a following wind?

Re:Wait what? (2, Insightful)

fredjh (1602699) | about 5 years ago | (#29369039)

Yup... I'm not really an administrator, but I have a couple of departmental web servers I need to run... and damnit, sometimes I gotta hit the button.

Re:Wait what? (1)

siloko (1133863) | about 5 years ago | (#29369317)

but do you really want to drive eight miles away to diagnose a potential hardware issue

I get around this by keeping the hardware close at hand but running my servers in VM's - where they reside is anyones guess!

Re:Wait what? (2, Insightful)

DogDude (805747) | about 5 years ago | (#29369349)

"relinquish physical control to a dedicated hardware monkey?" Why wouldn't you want to do that? Why would a company want to pay an admin salary for somebody to swap out hard drives?

Re:Wait what? (1)

ParanoiaBOTS (903635) | about 5 years ago | (#29369553)

I remote into my servers too, but do you really want to drive eight miles away to diagnose a potential hardware issue, or relinquish physical control to a dedicated hardware monkey?

8 miles...really? I drive farther than that on my *daily* commute. God forbid you have to spend the 12 minutes in the car it will take you to get where you are going. Unless you hosted the servers in your basement prior to this move I doubt that it's going to be that much more time on your part to get to the servers.

Re:Wait what? (1)

rrhal (88665) | about 5 years ago | (#29369075)

Microsoft IT has been for years. They need a tech on location to go recover from BSOD and troubleshoot SAN issues. Otherwise they are run from the main campus in Redmond or increasingly from Hyderabad.

Lick my Balls, Linux Loners and Mac Fags (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29368533)

8==C=O=C=K==S=L=A=P==D ~~-_

Thunk.

Filter error: Don't use so many caps. It's like NIGGERING.

Good idea (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29368551)

I want to be as far away from Windows as possible.

1985 called (4, Funny)

convolvatron (176505) | about 5 years ago | (#29368555)

they want their tty back

Re:1985 called (1)

value_added (719364) | about 5 years ago | (#29368923)

Well, in their defense, they were a bit late, but they eventually released real mode Windows for Workgroups (at least for those of us who had NetBEUI installed), didn't they? Oh, wait ...

I want my life back Bill Gates!

Re:1985 called (2, Funny)

commodore64_love (1445365) | about 5 years ago | (#29369943)

I read this as "they want their titty back". Oh my. The net has effectively turned me into a female body addict. http://domai.com/ [domai.com] Ooops that slipped right out.

Green Data Center??? (4, Funny)

sitarlo (792966) | about 5 years ago | (#29368573)

How can a concrete, environmentally controlled, power sucking, place people drive to be considered green? Oh, I know, they're using 36 Watt light bulbs in the broom closets.

Re:Green Data Center??? (2, Interesting)

RobBebop (947356) | about 5 years ago | (#29368697)

Maybe they're licensing a patent [treehugger.com] from Google to reduce cooling costs.

At least this idea was previously discussed here in 2008 [slashdot.org]

Re:Green Data Center??? (5, Funny)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | about 5 years ago | (#29368699)

How can a concrete, environmentally controlled, power sucking, place people drive to be considered green?

Spraypaint.

Re:Green Data Center??? (2, Interesting)

T Murphy (1054674) | about 5 years ago | (#29368723)

Green being a relative term, in this case relative to other data centers. Generally making a new building designed to house servers will be made to use passive cooling better and optimize the use of what active cooling they do use. The Redmond area is a very good climate for reducing energy usage- Boeing's factory in the area generally can leave their doors open year-round. I know a server room has different requirements from an assembly floor for jets, but you get the idea. The article mentions "The company expects that it will be able to cool its servers with outside air for 95 percent of the year", so that sounds like a good effort to me.

I know they're doing this to save money, but kudos for Microsoft for the initiative to reduce energy use. Each new building like this makes it easier to build more as it generates more data on the efficiency, the design becomes more tried-and-true and it provides an opportunity for further innovation in efficient building design.

Re:Green Data Center??? (2, Interesting)

mypalmike (454265) | about 5 years ago | (#29369185)

How can a concrete, environmentally controlled, power sucking, place people drive to be considered green?

http://advice.cio.com/michael_bullock/internaps_new_data_center_built_green_built_right [cio.com]

Disclaimer: Internap is my employer.

Re:Green Data Center??? (1)

Joe U (443617) | about 5 years ago | (#29369455)

That's pretty cool & I host with Internap.

Re:Green Data Center??? (1)

afidel (530433) | about 5 years ago | (#29369797)

Please tell me they did something to rig the humidifier in the linked photo galary! I hate to think that you are really dumping near-condensing mist directly into the computer space.

Re:Green Data Center??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29369809)

I wish more churches were converted into data centers. And don't forget the mosques!

Re:Green Data Center??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29369459)

How can a concrete, environmentally controlled, power sucking, place people drive to be considered green?

Algore(tm) brand carbon credits. They're greener than other carbon credits. With the power of Algore(tm) carbon credits, you can turn any facility into a green facility. Al Gore demonstrated this by making his home in Tennessee, which uses 10 times the electricity of a normal home, carbon neutral, just by purchasing carbon credits from his own company.

If it works for him, it can work for you. Algore(tm) brand carbon credits. Ask for them by name.

Microsoft Aims To Cure Server-Hugging Engineers (4, Insightful)

Culture20 (968837) | about 5 years ago | (#29368587)

By installing some sshd by default (openssh comes to mind)? Pretty please with gumdrops? All the other operating systems are doing it. As nice as they are, psexec et al are just not the same.

Re: Microsoft Aims To Cure Server-Hugging Engineer (4, Insightful)

CAIMLAS (41445) | about 5 years ago | (#29369091)

Unfortunately, not exactly. MS will just use RDP. It's a decent enough protocol on its own, and better than many others in its domain.

On the downside for MS, this move will likely mean a bigger focus to find and exploit holes in RDP. Until now, I don't think there have been many (in no small part because RDP has been relegated to internal terminal server use and remote in-house networking - Windows admins don't seem to like it all that much, at least compared to *nix admins who love SSH).

A losing battle (2, Insightful)

sskinnider (1069312) | about 5 years ago | (#29368619)

I have been through three "server consolidation" projects in the last 13 years. Every time the IT shop moves servers from the wild into data centers, a whole new crop springs up in wild. Good policy and great enforcement are the keys to a successful consolidation, but with the do more with less mentality of most IT shops today the old just becomes the new again.

Here's how it works (2, Insightful)

zaanan (1617787) | about 5 years ago | (#29368811)

The customer hammers on the IT department to cut costs, so the IT dept. consolidates their servers, ostensibly to reduce support overhead. However, some opportunity costs of consolidation (more security & controls requirements, lengthy endorsement/approval process, etc.) make it an onerous process to put servers into the datacenter, so then local "server rooms" start springing up again, especially for testing & development. Plus there are some things (security video, etc.) that you need to have local to each site, so total consolidation is a worthless cause IMHO.

Re:A losing battle (1)

BuR4N (512430) | about 5 years ago | (#29369095)

a whole new crop springs up in wild

The trick is to switch the fuses after the server move so they barley can run a workstation on each outlet.

Servers in the wild (2, Funny)

Krishnoid (984597) | about 5 years ago | (#29369437)

There's servers in the wild, and then there's this guy's problem [thedailywtf.com] .

Could you please reboot xatl0as36? (1)

travisb828 (1002754) | about 5 years ago | (#29368671)

One of my development servers is in our data center a mile down the road from our office. There is nothing like having to call the data center to get someone to go out on the floor to reboot when it stops responding. Granted this doesn't happen all the time, but its still a pain in the ass.

Then there is the issue of getting the machine re-imaged.

Re:Could you please reboot xatl0as36? (2, Insightful)

eosp (885380) | about 5 years ago | (#29368705)

IPMI is your friend. You can mount ISOs on bare hardware, and remotely push the power button.

Re:Could you please reboot xatl0as36? (1)

sexconker (1179573) | about 5 years ago | (#29368763)

So is there like a little robot hand or something?

Can it yank and replace drives, yank cables, open up the chassis and replace parts, etc?

Re:Could you please reboot xatl0as36? (1)

Tsunayoshi (789351) | about 5 years ago | (#29369229)

That's what the data center monkeys are for.

Re:Could you please reboot xatl0as36? (2, Interesting)

UncleTogie (1004853) | about 5 years ago | (#29368909)

If a part goes crispy, you can smell it, and sometimes hear it. You can get to the server in time to avert what could be a larger problem if something were to catch fire. I'll take sitting by my equipment, thanks...

Re:Could you please reboot xatl0as36? (2, Insightful)

funkboy (71672) | about 5 years ago | (#29369595)

IPMI is your friend. You can mount ISOs on bare hardware, and remotely push the power button.

Oh, yeah, gimmie, gimmie, gimmie. IPMI is one of the most underrated, underreported technologies around. IPMI 2.0 on a cheap Dell R300 is even better than Sun's LOM, which I loved. Remote serial port to the motherboard over ethernet, including access to the BIOS. OS integration with a simple driver gives you watchdog functionality & the ability to send a software three-finger-salute before having to resort to using the virtual reset button. It's really one of those things that, once you get used to it, makes you realize that things really sucked before you had it. 90% of the users of these servers probably don't even realize they have this capability; it doesn't exactly jump out & scream at you, you have to know what it is and that it's there.

Delicious dog food... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29368679)

Mmmm, mmm, mmm, boy does this dog food taste great.

Perfect application for VMWare (2, Informative)

Rich0 (548339) | about 5 years ago | (#29368703)

This sort of thing is a perfect application for VMWare. Create some interface where engineers can order up a server, and poof, a cloned vmware system is provided to them. Then they can have console-level access to that single server and do whatever they want with it. When they're done they hit a button, and poof it is disposed of. Since these kinds of development systems tend to sit around idle most of the time you can oversubscribe the hardware.

If you must use physical servers then there are lots of remote administration options. Of course good old RDP works just fine for 95% of the tasks. If you're actually working on OS-level changes then you might need a way to remotely boot off of CDs and get remote console-level access. Lots of server-grade solutions provide this kind of capability. VMWare does as well.

Re:Perfect application for VMWare (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29368775)

Openqrm already does this ;)

Re:Perfect application for VMWare (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29368895)

"Openqrm already does this ;)"

You really haven't tried it on a production environment, do you?

Re:Perfect application for VMWare (1)

dreethal (985821) | about 5 years ago | (#29368809)

In Microsoft's case, they'd probably hash it up with Powershell, Hyper-V and the System Center Suite, as they're all products that are in-house. RDP still will be the prevailing tool of the day, though.

Re:Perfect application for VMWare (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29369303)

That's what we do at my company... for the most part it works really well.

Re:Perfect application for VMWare (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | about 5 years ago | (#29369721)

You are right, VM's are awesome fro QA and Development work. The problem is, how do you keep track of how many VM's are running what? I know its not a problem in the real world. But at your office, do you KNOW that you have licensing for every copy of SQL server, or CALs for windows, etc. Moving things to a virtual environment at my last company was the main driver to start moving things to free/open source, because the time needed to track licensing compliance for all tools and software used got exponentially larger as we added VM's. When a guy can click a button, and fire up yet another image using licenses, it gets to be pain in the ass.

Re:Perfect application for VMWare (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | about 5 years ago | (#29369753)

where "in the real world" = At Microsoft.. Opps

Now it's remote, now it's local, repeat (1, Flamebait)

seniorcoder (586717) | about 5 years ago | (#29368731)

They will have to get used to remote handling of BSOD. They will need to have humans local to the actual machines to press the reset button when a BSOD occurs. A new breakthrough will then be announced called "proximity computing" whereby they will move the computers near those using them to avoid the extra employees who were hired to press the reset button. Buy shares in companies that are used to move the computers backwards and forwards each time the management reverses their previous "breakthrough".

Re:Now it's remote, now it's local, repeat (1)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | about 5 years ago | (#29368783)

They will have to get used to remote handling of BSOD. They will need to have humans local to the actual machines to press the reset button when a BSOD occurs. A new breakthrough will then be announced called "proximity computing" whereby they will move the computers near those using them to avoid the extra employees who were hired to press the reset button. Buy shares in companies that are used to move the computers backwards and forwards each time the management reverses their previous "breakthrough".

Or make the machines all VMs so they can SSH into the "hardware" and reset it, or get network-connected power buttons and video cards.

Re:Now it's remote, now it's local, repeat (1)

pla (258480) | about 5 years ago | (#29369079)

Or make the machines all VMs so they can SSH into the "hardware" and reset it

Sometimes, a real live human needs to walk out to the machine and toggle the power. Layer upon layer of clever hardware abstraction can help (usually at the cost of performance), but at the end of the day, you still need someone to go flip the switch occasionally.


or get network-connected power buttons and video cards

Network connected video cards rock - Locally. Move beyond the local network segment, though and I hope you work for Sprint or Tyco or some other company that can afford to drop you an OC-12 or comparable connection. Network connected power buttons... Honestly never used one of them, but again, you just add one more layer of abstraction from failure - What happens when the network connected power button fails?


I don't mean this just to play Devil's Advocate, BTW... Realistically, machines don't just randomly go down hard for no reason. Some event causes such failures, and whether isolated (does your network power button let you know that your machine has literally caught on fire?) or shared (Good news: The lightning somehow miraculously didn't cook your rows upon rows of racks.; Bad news: They now have rain pouring in on them), your solution needs to have the ability to deal with everything from pressing the reset button to resolving a worst-case scenario.

Re:Now it's remote, now it's local, repeat (1)

PenguinBob (1208204) | about 5 years ago | (#29369161)

What happens when the network connected power button fails?

You put a network connected power button on the network connected power button.

Re:Now it's remote, now it's local, repeat (1)

faedle (114018) | about 5 years ago | (#29368977)

The reality of the situation is one $15/hour NOC monkey can effectively be "hands on" support for hundreds.. if not thousands.. of machines. Concentrating machines in one place has a lot of advantages of scale, including security, power, and cooling savings. The costs saved can easily pay for 24 hours of cheap "hands on."

Re:Now it's remote, now it's local, repeat (1)

Microlith (54737) | about 5 years ago | (#29369291)

Obviously you have never made use of a network power switch. Nothing quite like crashing a hardware development system, telnetting into the power switch, and toggling the power remotely.

It is entirely possible to manage everything but critical hardware failures remotely, and hardware failures like that are why we have redundancy.

Re:Now it's remote, now it's local, repeat (5, Insightful)

Shads (4567) | about 5 years ago | (#29369339)

In the modern era we use this thing called a "remote access card" or an ip enabled pdu.

If you're at the datacenter and you're not:

A) Installing or Removing hardware
B) Physically rewiring something
C) Replacing a failed piece of hardware

You're doing it wrong.

Re:Now it's remote, now it's local, repeat (1)

saleenS281 (859657) | about 5 years ago | (#29369513)

Because you can't reboot a server with an ILO?

Another Microsoft marketing revolution (5, Insightful)

MosesJones (55544) | about 5 years ago | (#29368735)

One thing you can always remain impressed by Microsoft is how they manage to spin something that everyone has been doing for 20 years and talk about it as a trend.

SMEs are using Rackspace and the like, people are shifting stuff to Amazon Web Services and Microsoft's own strategy is about Azure and the cloud with virtualisation as "normal". In other words what Microsoft are doing here is well behind what they are talking about in the market as being normal.

But they've still managed to spin a press release out of shifting a bunch of servers into a Data Centre in the sort of move that wouldn't have got any press coverage 10 years ago. Brilliantly however they've added a "green" angle to it all thus turning what looks like a move they should have done ages ago into something worthy of comment.

Genius

You have to admire a press release in 2009 that can make shifting to a DC sound like a revolution.

Re:Another Microsoft marketing revolution (0, Troll)

Waffle Iron (339739) | about 5 years ago | (#29369083)

One thing you can always remain impressed by Microsoft is how they manage to spin something that everyone has been doing for 20 years and talk about it as a trend.

20 years? In this case, more like 50.

Re:Another Microsoft marketing revolution (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about 5 years ago | (#29369225)

Im more impressed with the other reading that you can do to it: "now you can do what *nix admins have been doing since last millenium"

consider (-1, Troll)

speedtux (1307149) | about 5 years ago | (#29368743)

They should consider moving to Linux at the same time; it's a whole lot easier to use and administer remotely than Windows.

How is it possible ?!? (1)

ctrl-alt-canc (977108) | about 5 years ago | (#29368793)

> The company says the consolidation, which physically separates Microsoft engineers from the servers running their test code
So, if engineers are fare away from the server running their test code, how do they press the reset button when the server shows the BSOD ?!?

Re:How is it possible ?!? (3, Funny)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | about 5 years ago | (#29368831)

> The company says the consolidation, which physically separates Microsoft engineers from the servers running their test code
So, if engineers are fare away from the server running their test code, how do they press the reset button when the server shows the BSOD ?!?

They've found a way to punch servers in the face over standard TCP/IP.

Re:How is it possible ?!? (1)

D Ninja (825055) | about 5 years ago | (#29369027)

They've found a way to punch servers in the face over standard TCP/IP.

Ahhh...I see Chuck Norris has now taken up software development.

Re:How is it possible ?!? (2, Insightful)

darkonc (47285) | about 5 years ago | (#29369025)

That's why the server sit is only 8 miles away.. It's close enough that you can drive over and hit 'reset' once a day, if you have to.

With SUN servers, on the other hand, I've set up their serial ports back-to-back such that I could SSH into a box's 'partner', shut down the OS, wipe the drive and re-install the OS without setting foot in the server room (not that I ever needed to make use of that functionality, but it was reassuring to have it in place, given that the boxes were a 3-4 hour drive away and across an international border (US/Canada)).

I have no problems administering Unix/Linux boxes 200 miles away, but -- MS PR aside -- I'd want to keep a Windows box 'close to home'.

Re:How is it possible ?!? (1)

Tanktalus (794810) | about 5 years ago | (#29369545)

That's why the server sit is only 8 miles away.. It's close enough that you can drive over and hit 'reset' once a day, if you have to.

That seems like a lot of wasted gas, all those cars going back and forth between the DC and the development campus. Maybe they should use an express shuttle to get more employees going back and forth at a time, and save on fuel.

Re:How is it possible ?!? (1)

saleenS281 (859657) | about 5 years ago | (#29369555)

Really? MS PR aside? You aren't just trolling? Being that you brought up "Sun servers", you should know that you can connect to the ILO, use it to mount an ISO, and completely wipe and re-install windows just as easily. It isn't exactly a new feature either.

Re:How is it possible ?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29369679)

Lights-Out 100 or iLO2 from HP allow you to remote into the boxes, power cycle, access the BIOS, anything you can do in front of the box but plug and unplug cables. It's nice from development perspective.

Re:How is it possible ?!? (1)

drsmithy (35869) | about 5 years ago | (#29369975)

I have no problems administering Unix/Linux boxes 200 miles away, but -- MS PR aside -- I'd want to keep a Windows box 'close to home'.

An thanks to ILOM, DRAC, et al, I have no problem looking after Windows machines on the other side of the planet. What's your point ?

Obvious quote (1)

MemoryDragon (544441) | about 5 years ago | (#29368945)

Expects their customers to run Visual Sourcesafe, I hope they expect the same from their engineers.

Re:Obvious quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29369151)

Yeah yeah yeah, this post will be modded -1, Microsoft Shill, but the source code control is Team Foundation Server now. Much better than VSS. But then again it pretty much has to be.

Virtualization! (1)

IGnatius T Foobar (4328) | about 5 years ago | (#29368963)

In our data center we've moved a lot of the Windows workloads to virtual servers. That gives you "the console" and "the hardware" even when you're remote, so it's very nice.

Of course, Microsoft will want to run its virtualization on Windows so that could pose a problem for them. :)

Re:Virtualization! (2, Funny)

arndawg (1468629) | about 5 years ago | (#29369077)

In our data center we've moved a lot of the Windows workloads to virtual servers. That gives you "the console" and "the hardware" even when you're remote, so it's very nice.

IP KVM called. They want to know what year it is!

Too easy one... (4, Funny)

Hurricane78 (562437) | about 5 years ago | (#29368995)

How do you cure engineers from loving their servers?

By installing Windows on them! *BA-DUM-TISH*

I'm here all night! Try the cake!

Cheap remote hardware management (2, Insightful)

davidwr (791652) | about 5 years ago | (#29369003)

What I want in a remote control box:
* alternative boot media in case HD won't boot, e.g. bootable CD in the drive
* remote access to keyboard, video, and mouse
* remote access to power switch

All of these are available today. Now for my final requirements:

* Cheap
* Secure - only authorized users can get remote access

Ruh-roh.

Re:Cheap remote hardware management (1)

lukas84 (912874) | about 5 years ago | (#29369385)

HP's iLO or IBM's IMM are just a few bucks on top of the nominal server cost.

yes sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29369109)

always simpler to swap a hard drive 8 miles away and or do a quick check on euipment

way to go MS

that's just the beginning, when their test proves almost successful, they'll move the support center to india

Development vs production environment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29369373)

Big difference - things are quicker when the box is nearby. What they gain in Elec they loose several times over in productivity.

Course I assume the reason they need dedicated development servers is to test software that talks directly to the hardware and allows them to juggle stuff about. If it is about making the next version of Word then they don't need dedicated servers at all and a heavy duty workstation and VMs will be fine.

So why?

how do you reboot it ? (2, Informative)

sniperu (585466) | about 5 years ago | (#29369511)

For all the people who are wondering how do you remotely reboot a server once it BSOD. In the last century or so, there have been these little things called remote cards, or out-of-band management cards, or ILO (HP) or RSA (IBM) or whatever. You can do all kinds of magic with them cards, like remote reboots, connecting remotely to the servers mouse/keyboard/screen, hardware diagnostics, turning on the little light on the server so you can find it once you get to the data room.... Makes me wonder about the median slashdot user's IT background ...

Greeaatttt (1)

ATestR (1060586) | about 5 years ago | (#29369689)

Wonderful. My last job, we had all of our servers down the hall in a air conditioned server room. We administered them remotely... until we had to go down the hall to hit the reset button, or turn the machine on because someone had mistakenly shut it down instead of rebooting. Admittedly, we were a development environment where we did a lot of re-installs and re-imaging of machines, but if your machine is 50 miles (or 5000 miles) away, performing hands-on work just won't be practical, and sometime, someone is going to need to do it.

Server-Hugging? (4, Funny)

leromarinvit (1462031) | about 5 years ago | (#29369845)

The headline just begs to recycle this [slashdot.org] old post...

Actually, I worked with one fellow who had his penis injured by a computer.

Some of IBM's mid-range systems from the late 1980s (actually quite large, physically, by today's standards...) had a circular opening about 2 inches in diameter. This opening was near some circuitry or device that would heat up rather quickly. So with the help of some duct tape and foam, this hardware admin fashioned himself a warm vagina of sorts, right on the side of our IBM system.

We're not sure how long he had a "relationship" with the system, but it came to an end one day when during lunch he ran over to a group of us, with his hands covered in blood. Apparently the foam vagina tore, and a piece of metal got him on the penis shaft. He went to the hospital, and was okay in the end. But he didn't really last long with the company after that...

They can take them (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29369885)

from my cold dead hands.

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