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Behind the Scenes at Hotmail

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the that's-a-big-datacenter-you-have-grandma dept.

Networking 292

mallumax writes "ACM Queue interviews Hotmail engineer Phil Smoot on how they manage more than 10,000 servers spread around the globe. Between them, they process billions of emails per day and are overseen by hundreds of administrators. To do that they have returned to the command line. From the article: 'Our operations group never wants to rely on any sort of user interface. Everything has to be scriptable and run from some sort of command line'. The overriding philosophy seems to be KISS. Also: tape backups are out and spam levels have stabilized."

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292 comments

KISS my hotmail body (4, Funny)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464041)

The overriding philosophy seems to be KISS.

Don't try to tell me that the guys at Hotmail only want to Rock & Roll all night and party every day?!?

Re:KISS my hotmail body (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14464064)

wasnt that Knights In Service of Satan?

Re:KISS my hotmail body (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14464126)

so the guys at hotmail ARE evil!!! I knew it!!!

Re:KISS my hotmail body (5, Funny)

DJ_Goldfingerz (612551) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464546)

I read you subject as "KISS my hotmale body".

holy hell cornduck (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14464049)

sniff the stinky spot!

boooring (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14464068)

dumb story, next?

Ofcouse they use KISS! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14464078)

Keep It Simple Stupid, so they acknowlegde that they are stupid!

I wonder.... (2, Funny)

kurth (221375) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464079)

..who they call for support? :-)

Re:I wonder.... (3, Funny)

vil3nr0b (930195) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464107)

AOL of course :-)

Re:I wonder.... (4, Funny)

daikokatana (845609) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464129)

..who they call for support? :-)

Ghostbusters?

Re:I wonder.... (1)

cozzano (666947) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464492)

There have always been ghosts in the machine. Random segments of code, that have grouped together to form unexpected protocols....

Re:I wonder.... (3, Funny)

yobjob (942868) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464416)

who they call for support?

The French?

UNIX? (4, Interesting)

IAmTheDave (746256) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464080)

If I recall correctly, wasn't Hotmail originally run on UNIX boxes?

Re:UNIX? (1)

Frankie70 (803801) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464111)


  If I recall correctly, wasn't Hotmail originally run on UNIX boxes?


Yes, it was run on a combination of BSD & Solaris boxes, IIRC.

Re:UNIX? (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464124)

BSD boxen, yes. I think they still do, but I'm not sure. I do recall they tried migrating to Exchange once, and had to switch back for a bit, but I think(?) that they've finally switched over to Exchange by now.

Re:UNIX? (2, Interesting)

jcaldwel (935913) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464147)

Last time I was able to get a sniff out of it, they had changed over to Win-ders boxes, at least at the visible part of the Internet.

Re:UNIX? (2, Informative)

ThinkFr33ly (902481) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464206)

While there were initial problems migrating to Windows, 100% of Hotmail now runs on Windows.

Also, Exchange was never involved in the migration. Hotmail is a combination of C++ ISAPI filters, COM+ (ATL) Enterprise Components, and SQL Server.

Re:UNIX? (1, Troll)

GoodOmens (904827) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464293)

While there were initial problems migrating to Windows, 100% of Hotmail now runs on Windows.

No wonder hotmail sucks. Then again I am a diehard gmail fan :-p

Re:UNIX? (2, Interesting)

ThinkFr33ly (902481) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464430)

Hotmail sucks because of the feature set when compared to Gmail or Yahoo mail, not because it runs on Windows.

The new Windows Live Mail beta is fairly good. Doesn't have the feature set of Gmail or Yahoo yet, but it's getting there.

If it wasn't for the near impossibility of migrating 20,000+ e-mails from Hotmail to Gmail, I probably would have jumped ship long ago... but Live Beta is keeping me interested.

Re:UNIX? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14464513)

Wrong! Their backend is heavily Sun Servers and Storage.
It's a real big secret for both camps though.

Re:UNIX? (1)

kotj.mf (645325) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464238)

From TFA, pg 2:

BF I'd like to talk a little about tools. In particular, what tools do you need to build rather than buy?

PS Clearly, we're a Microsoft shop and we're going to leverage everything that the public can leverage, which would be Visual Studio, SDK tools, and SQL and all the tools associated with it. Custom tools that we may build would be more in the area of deployment, metrics gathering, ticketing, bug tracking, code coverage, monitoring, inventory, failure detection, and build systems.

We do leverage the Windows operating system's perfmon (performance monitor) counters, event logs, Active Directory, and things like that. But we also may supplement them with custom tools for additional granularity or debugging or logging. We also have a number of processes and tools in place to help us understand what the current state of the site is.

...but I suppose he could be lying.

F**Kin Speak English ! (4, Insightful)

CmdrGravy (645153) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464378)

Why does he keep mistaking the word "use" for the word "leverage" ? The only possible advantage I can see in substituting the word "leverage" is that it sort of implies they are making the best use of these tools that they can in which case you would think that most people would have already assumed they are not making the worst possible use they could of the tools and it's interesting that the author feels it necessary to make that distinction.

Re:UNIX? (5, Informative)

Kraegar (565221) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464174)

It used to be on FreeBSD w/Apache, now it runs on Windows w/IIS. It's not exchange based.

Read about it [microsoft.com]

Re:UNIX? (1)

xtracto (837672) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464335)

Just as a "recall" attachment... I recall opening my account some looong time ago (when hotmail wasnt bought by microsoft), I was like 13 then, a friend of the family told us that it was a great service etc, and when I told my mother that I wanted to open an account in Hotmail she looked me with dubious eyes and asked me "what kind of site is that?" she infered in some way that the "hot" in hotmail had something to do with pr0n hehe.

Re:UNIX? (5, Informative)

Amoeba (55277) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464369)

Yes. Hotmail was originally run on clusters of E3500 and E4500's running Solaris 2.5.1. After they got bought by Microsoft, a major initiative to migrate all boxes to Windows was undertaken in 2000. Hotmail has been 99.9% Windows for over 3 years now. The remaining 0.1% are some legacy solaris boxes used to handle backups for clusters... and even they are being phased out slowly.

--Amoeba (who no longer works there)

Re:UNIX? (3, Interesting)

TheLink (130905) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464482)

Did Hotmail have a higher server (or hardware cost) to subscriber ratio after they migrated to windows?

Re:UNIX? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14464432)

Bingo! See, that's why they need 10000 servers spread around the world to keep the thing (barely) affloat. Had they stayed on FreeBSD they could have run the whole operation on a Duron 800 with a good DSL connection! I mean, just look at GMail. Ok, that runs on Linux, so it needs a little more power, probably a Centrino (which is why you get those "temporarily unavailable" thingies when the administrator takes the laptop home). 10000 servers is just bad Karma for migrate the thing to NT-Server :P

Better subject... (5, Funny)

pegr (46683) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464086)

"Between them, they process billions of emails per day and are overseen by hundreds of administrators."
 
And how does the NSA process all that email? Now THAT would be an interesting technical challenge!

Re:Better subject... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14464244)

99.9999999% of it is spam.

Re:Better subject... (1)

conteXXt (249905) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464307)

Easy.

They use Microsoft MailSpy (version 1.0) with the Decrypt plugin.

Slick gui (although I hear it uses non standard widgets)
with the massive processing power of Microsoft Speed.

No need to be patched though as it has a very small userbase and isn't a virus vector target as such (like Linux/unix/OSX)

(removes tongue from cheek)

Re:Better subject... (1)

gaurzilla (665469) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464471)

It's called "Data Mining". It's a major active research field.

Does anyone know... (4, Funny)

ehaggis (879721) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464093)

What OS it runs on and which web server? I am not trying to be funny.

Re:Does anyone know... (2, Informative)

jcaldwel (935913) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464195)

[root@jboss html]# wget --save-headers -q -O- http://www.hotmail.com/ [hotmail.com] | grep "^Server:" 2>/dev/null Server: Microsoft-IIS/6.0

Re:Does anyone know... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14464342)

Hotmail is run by Gentoo linux webserver. I have managed to squeeze out a screenshot about that one once, when the server said it didnt find the file. Didnt take long for it to be repaired thought.
-deepone

Re:Does anyone know... (1)

oztiks (921504) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464469)

This looks like it isn't v accurate but

fortress:/home/oztiks# nmap -O -P0 -p 25-26 mail.hotmail.com

Starting nmap 3.81 ( http://www.insecure.org/nmap/ [insecure.org] ) at 2006-01-14 02:42 EST
Warning: OS detection will be MUCH less reliable because we did not find at lea st 1 open and 1 closed TCP port
Interesting ports on mail.hotmail.com (65.54.244.40):
PORT STATE SERVICE
25/tcp open smtp
26/tcp filtered unknown
Device type: general purpose
Running (JUST GUESSING) : Cray UNICOS 8.X (91%)
Aggressive OS guesses: Cray UNICOS/mk 8.6 (91%)
No exact OS matches for host (test conditions non-ideal).

Re:Does anyone know... (2, Insightful)

Dr. Evil (3501) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464537)

If it is responding in the headers IIS, it's probably being proxied by some kind of load balancer. In a modern setup, the proxy is a hardware device with a custom OS... probably originating in BSD, but the IP stack heavily modified. The system for delivery and transport of mail will also be differnt than that of the web interface.

I don't think an OS really matters anymore when you're getting to that scale. The architecture matters, and that's probably proprietary and protected by IP agreements with employees because it would have value to competitors.

Which cmd line? (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464094)

They've gone back to the command line? I wonder if it's SFU (Services for UNIX) where they at least have bash, or if they're having to wear out the "\" key and give their right pinky-finger carpal tunnel? /P

Re:Which cmd line? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14464489)

The \ key is on the left hand side of the keyboard :)

Well it is on my UK keyboard =)

KISS, for the uninitiated... (0, Redundant)

nganju (821034) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464099)

... stands for "Keep it simple, silly", or "Keep it simple, stupid". There are other variations on the acronym [wikipedia.org] but the general idea is the same.

Still running *NIX? (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14464103)

Isn't this the same Hotmail that started out running Linux or a UNIX?

Then Redmond purchased to try to show that Windoze scaled just as well as *NIX ...and Windoze died under the load that the *NIX environment handled with aplomb.

I guess they finally managed to migrate it to Windoze... I think it very amusing that they avoid the GUI and are a CLI/scripted environment. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Fairly Impressive (4, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464109)

I don't know about everyone else but this article was shocking to me.

Not only are the questions well picked but the some of the answers are quite interesting. For instance Phil on scalability:
The problems are those of basic client-server programming--that is, figuring out the browser/http/server data-access patterns and optimizing the protocols, extending these protocols as new functionality is introduced, and ensuring that these protocols work across geo-distributed data centers when the speed of light becomes a factor. Designing applications with built-in redundancy so that they are resilient to abuse is also a challenge.
Before reading this article, I always had hotmail pegged as a hacked together e-mail system less organized than a monkey sh*tfight but if Phil speaks the truth, I've underestimated them. They're a hacked togethor server mess with a lot of effort put into staying afloat--and they have been doing well for a long time.

I guess I've always taken my free Hotmail account for granted.

Re:Fairly Impressive (3, Informative)

mekkab (133181) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464321)

Not only are the questions well picked

The interviewer is ACM Queue editorial baord member Ben Fried, who is the managing director of Morgan Stanley's worldwide IT deptartment.

Re:Fairly Impressive (2, Informative)

xtracto (837672) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464383)

Man, it is the Association for Computing Machinery magazine, I mean, it is not any PC-Weekly WalMart mag.

If you don't know about ACM publications, here [acm.org] are other interesting ones:

Ubiquity: IT opinion magazine and forum
TechNews: News Gathering Service for IT Professionals
eLearn: Distance learning magazine
MemberNet: Your Key to the World of ACM...and Beyond
Computers in Entertainment: New ACM online magazine

P.s. Sorry for the K.B.

Spam improvment, but not perfect yet (3, Interesting)

saskboy (600063) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464110)

I used to get about 35 spam a day in my primary hotmail account that I'd had since 1997. Now it gets about 4 a day so things have improved, but my biggest concern about Hotmail is that its virus scanning is horrible. There have been several times when it would have let me download a virus attachment, or allowed multiple obvious virus messages through. They've switched to Trend from McAfee, but I think the problem still remains.

Re:Spam improvment, but not perfect yet (1)

TheClam (209230) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464255)

I'd almost prefer that to what Google has done with gmail. I emailed myself a zip file containing 6 other zip files, one of which had an .exe windows installer. Gmail refused to process the email due to that embedded .exe. It made me wonder how far down the virus checker digs. If I create a zip file containing an .exe and then zip it again 100 times, will Google still catch it?

The answer is left as an exercise for the reader. :)

Re:Spam improvment, but not perfect yet (1)

saskboy (600063) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464330)

They should allow the processing of zip files with exe files in them, but bash the user over the head with a blunt warning such as,
"The probability that this file contains a virus is extremely high. Please confirm using direct communication with the sender, that the file is not generated by a virus."

That way, geeks can send attachments, and ordinary users might not run the .exe.

And preferably, when the virus scanner detects identically sized .zip files going to EVERYONE or multiple times to the same user, then it would start stripping the files or emails by default.

Re:Spam improvment, but not perfect yet (1)

Lisandro (799651) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464508)

Sadly, "regular" users just click on the OK button and are done with it. Blocking content which is highly probable to have virus and forcing you to unblock it if you want it it's actually the most sensible approach.

Re:Spam improvment, but not perfect yet (1)

Wizzo1138 (769692) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464350)

I haven't tried it with gmail specifically, but putting a password on your outer zip file usually prevents the scanning and lets it go through.

Re:Spam improvment, but not perfect yet (2, Informative)

mccdyl001 (808761) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464375)

Yes it will. It will iterate through all your zip files. And if you password protect, gmail wont process it. So how do you send an exe or zip? Just give it some other arb extension (like bmp or dat or xxx or anything) and then attach it. On the other end give it back its proper extension, and you're done.

Re:Spam improvment, but not perfect yet (1)

AdamWeeden (678591) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464436)

Well if the people who coded it to do the behavior you described had half a brain it would. It's much easier to do something like this than anything else: scanZipforEXE(zipfile): foreachfile: if filetype == exe: return true else if filetype == zip: return scanZipforEXE(file) return false

Re:Spam improvment, but not perfect yet (1)

AdamWeeden (678591) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464481)

gah, forgot the HTML (and now using C style braces since slash doesn't recognize spaces)

scanZipforEXE(zipfile){
foreachfile{
if filetype == exe {
return true
} else if filetype == zip {
return scanZipforEXE(file)
}
}
return false
}

Re:Spam improvment, but not perfect yet (1)

teaDrunk (849107) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464336)

True, Though my hotmail account still get more spam than other email accounts, I still think spam has reduced from what it was. Not sure about their virus scanning, though. How did you catch those infected one? (..several times when it would have let me download a virus attachment...)You PC virus scanner stopped it ?

Re:Spam improvment, but not perfect yet (1)

dAzED1 (33635) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464354)

I've had a particular hotmail address for....a long time. Most likely in 97.

I was getting a LOT of spam for a while, turned on most everything that could be turned on, I flag it all as junk...but I still get 20ish a day. Really, I just skim it fast to see if I have anything from people I know, then I go back to gmail or such (where I only get 1 or 2 spam emails a day).

If 20ish a day is their version of stable, I'd prefer it stabilize a little bit...lower.

High level of QC! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14464115)

From the article:
Hotmail relies on less than 100 system administrators to manage it all.

From the summary:
Between them, they process billions of emails per day and are overseen by hundreds of administrators.

Brought to you by the high quality control here at /.

Re:High level of QC! (1)

znx (847738) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464395)

From the comment subject:
High level of QC!

From the author field
Anonymous Coward

Damnit you almost had me.... oh wait your right! Time for me quit using /. and never return again.

Re:High level of QC! (1)

DotComMarky (880830) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464529)

"Brought to you by the high quality control here at /."

Well if the QC would just stop smoking...

So where is Search? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14464125)

I love to read how hotmail and yahoo mail think they have caught up to gmail but still have no search capability.

Why don't my yahoo account confirmation emails reach hotmail? If they are treated as spam, why don't they go in the junk folder? They just disappear.. Why is gmail's spam handling so much better than hotmail?

Hotmail is comical in every sense.

Re:So where is Search? (1)

Wisgary (799898) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464457)

Huh? I recall my hotmail account having a "Find" button for a while now. Right in between the "Junk" and "Put in folder" buttons. Go ahead and have a look.

The SPAM problem (1, Insightful)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464127)

BF Can you quantify in some way the extent of the spam problem?

PS It is massive. Years ago we saw as many as 3 billion incoming messages. This has declined, but the estimates are that 75 percent of all e-mail is spam. Over the past couple of years our techniques have gotten better, and our partnerships with other major ISPs have improved. I would say spam is still gross and abusive, but it hasn't been getting worse lately.

We do continue to react to spam on a daily basis as spammers continue to seek out holes in our defenses. What we see now is more sophistication in the spammers--more phishing schemes, people trying to get credit card numbers and that kind of thing.

But didn't he get the memo from headquarters? Bill Gates said there would be no more spam! They better get to work -- they're running out of time!

Command line (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14464128)


> To do that they have returned to the command line.

Absolutely.

I'm currently in the process of trying to change our company culture away from legacy GUI tools and toward command-line tools.

Scriptability is a highly under-rated goal. I'm not against GUI tools -- but they need to be built on top of scriptable utilities.

Re:Command line (1)

campbell.mcneill (945602) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464340)

This will be why they are adding the shell into Windows Vista, to allow scripting like all the unix types know how. Dont know what will happen though with all the utils that exist right now that have no scriptable interface. Guess it will be a mess.

Oh, come on..... (-1, Troll)

TheDoctorWho (858166) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464134)

It's like one commercial after another. 'See how great we are!!'

It's funny they won't use a GUI interface, but then they Work for MS so they might know better than to trust one from MS.

Oh, come on yourself. (3, Insightful)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464207)

It's like one commercial after another. 'See how great we are!!'

Right... it's always more interesting to read article after article about only unsuccessful operations run by people who aren't proud of what they do, and don't face huge, global challenges.

You're cranky because it's MS. If exactly the same article ran, substituting "gmail" and "google" for all of the other names, you'd say, "cool!"

No user interface (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14464269)

It's funny they won't use a GUI interface

What's even more funny is that they won't rely on any user interface (that's what the article says). Because a command line isn't graphical, it's not a user interface?

Oh, I see. The command line, which works in a script, is a programmer interface. Programmers aren't users, of course.

Look no mouse! (1)

somethingprolific (944769) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464161)

It's worth noting that anyone in the IT field knows that the command line is much more powerful than any GUI. And let's not forget that it's just cool to show your friends how you can manipulate mainframe servers without a mouse. :-)

Interacting without any sort of user interface (4, Funny)

Phat_Tony (661117) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464171)

"they have returned to the command line. From the article: 'Our operations group never wants to rely on any sort of user interface"

I always thought that the command line was a user interface. You know, interfacing between a user and a computer.

It's hard to picture using a computer without any sort of user interface. I'm pretty sure that, in order to call it "using" a computer, some sort of interface must exist, be it keyboard mouse and monitor, binary switch, light gun, real gun, neural link, telekinesis, or whatever. Otherwise, you're not using it, are you?

On the other hand, maybe the article is correct- a lot of operations group probably don't want to use "any sort of user interface" to communicate with their computers. They want to be sitting on a beach in tahiti drinking daiquiris, thousands of miles away from the computers they're supposed to maintain.

Re:Interacting without any sort of user interface (1)

shawn(at)fsu (447153) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464347)

I guess you could say that if it's scriptable then it can be automatically kicked off, like a cron job or something. So in that case the Operations group sets it up and then shouldn't have to do anything else with it. That might be a bit of a stretch, eventually you'll need to find out if it's working right or not. Even that could be done with out a computer interface, it could be your manager yelling at you over the phone wondering why the system is down with you on the other end in Tahiti while your wondering why someone is killing your buzz.

Re:Interacting without any sort of user interface (1)

znx (847738) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464456)

...always thought that the command line was a user interface...

Absolutely it is and the best interface by far, however I believe the prefered term is "Command Line Interface" (cli) whereas UI is "Graphical User Interface" (gui/ui).

Re:Interacting without any sort of user interface (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14464524)

Exactly, and there are different flavors of the command line user interfaces - old-school sh, POSIX, csh (yuck) et al.

I'm amazed (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14464175)

I am genuinely amazed that they need even that many systems admins. That breaks down to only 100 machines per administrator.

I have worked on projects with that many hosts before and only had maybe 10 colleagues.

Lies, damned lies (0, Redundant)

bazmail (764941) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464177)

Slashdot says: Hotmail relies on less than 100 system administrators to manage it all.

Article says:Hotmail relies on less than 100 system administrators to manage it all.

I mean REALLY. a new low for /. [/sarc]

Re:Lies, damned lies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14464346)

You might want to double-check your cut-and-paste.

The article is fine...but (2, Interesting)

KrisCowboy (776288) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464185)

In the landscape of today's megaservices, Hotmail just might be Mount Everest

Is this true? I thought Google might be the Everest. Anyway, speaking from personal experience, in my university every student has multiple yahoo/gmail accounts but just a handful use Hotmail. Can someone throw light on the actual number of users all over?

Spam spam spam! Argh. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14464189)

Have you guys ever sat back and wondered what the world would be like without spam? Think of how much processing power the Hotmail servers have to throw at filtering out spam. I know our company personally blocks around 75% of all incoming mail with RBL's before it even gets into the system to be further processed with the anti-spam tools and yet spam STILL slips by all that. Could you imagine having a physical mailbox absolutely filled to capacity ever single day with junkmail.. to the point where you have trouble sifting through it all to find the legitimate mail and bills?

stabilised... (0, Redundant)

ladyKae (945309) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464193)

spam levels have stabilized
... *erm* stabilised how, is that on a slope? reckon those hotmail guys wanna check their spirit levels, cos I don't think the bubble is in the right place....!

Re:stabilised... (4, Funny)

the chao goes mu (700713) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464329)

Stabilized at 100% of bandwidth.

command line is about remote console (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14464208)

The machines you're maintaining most likely don't even have X client support installed. Using curses for menu support isn't an option since getting the tty settings right is often problematic. Ever see a curses menu when the screen size is set wrong?

I wrote a set of scripts once for this kind of environment. I had to write a whole set of line mode menu support routines.

Phil Smoot??? (0, Offtopic)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464214)

Is that a name? I thought smoot was a unit of measurement.

Re:Phil Smoot??? (1)

bazmail (764941) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464327)

Nope. It's what the Canadian Jesus did to the sodomites.

Re:Phil Smoot??? (2, Informative)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464374)

Where do you think the unit of measurement came from? I visited my brother at MIT in '88 or '89, when the bridge (and the Smootlines) had been rebuilt... I thought it was the best thing about MIT (I learned differently later). on the origin of the Smoot. [lbl.gov]

Re:Phil Smoot??? (1)

suwain_2 (260792) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464409)

IIRC, the Smoot was actually named after a kid of that last name, and one Smoot was equal to his height.

From the immortal words of Henry Spencer (5, Insightful)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464229)


"Those who don't understand UNIX are doomed to reinvent it, poorly."

From the article and elaborating on the /. summary (It has a print version that consolidates the 4 pages together if you want):

Q: Are there scaling reasons to think about the benefits of a command line for managing over a GUI, or are there other things to think about?

A: Our operations group never wants to rely on any sort of user interface. Everything has to be scriptable and run from some sort of command line. That's the only way you're going to be able to execute scripts and gather the results over thousands of machines.

Also, we all remember the scaling issues that MS had when they took over hotmail and initially tried to switch from freebsd to Windows.

MS had to port over cron jobs because its not something that is installed and used by default under windows like UNIX. They had to rewrite the "inefficient" perl code that ran fine on FreeBSD to C++. They had to redo the memory allocation to prevent memory leaks in the new C++ code. Read about it from the goat's mouth http://www.microsoft.com/technet/interopmigration/ case/hotmail/default.mspx [microsoft.com] .

I can't wait until FreeBSD and other inferior OSes get tools to find memory leaks. One day....

(That last line was sarcasm and not a flame).

How they manage? (1)

mynickwastaken (690966) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464285)

they process billions of emails per day and are overseen by hundreds of administrators.

Probably they run Linux... Oh wait, does Windows run Linux?!

Coral Cache (3, Informative)

OctaneZ (73357) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464313)

Looks like the site is down, it is however there is, however, a Coral Cache copy [nyud.net] .

speaking of hotmail and UIs (1)

paco3791 (786431) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464359)

I read somewhere, not too long ago, that Hotmail was set to go to a new and improved user interface that would look alot like Outlook. I haven't seen or heard anything since, certainly not on my Hotmail account. Can anyone shead some more light on this rumor. When, where and for whom is this update coming?

Or am I just being delusional again?

Re:speaking of hotmail and UIs (1)

abscissa (136568) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464517)

This is functionality built into Windows Live. If you live in the USA right now, you should be able to go to www.live.com and access "Outlook" Hotmail.

It's not available yet for other countries.

Re:speaking of hotmail and UIs (1)

ukdmbfan (904348) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464562)

They're currently doing the beta for the updated Hotmail, dubbed "Windows Mail Live" or something. If you wanna try it you have to pop-over to live.com and opt-in for the new mail beta, they'll send you an email at some point asking if you want to transfer over.

It's crap, only works properly (as using AJAX) in IE and its slow and cumbersome. Stick to Gmail.

"spam levels have stabilized" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14464365)

To or from? :-)

They have a special way of dealing with spam (1)

obender (546976) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464367)

During the last month I only used my gmail account. When I saw this story about hotmail I went and check my hotmail inbox. Everything had been deleted.

So long and thanks for all the spam
So sad that it should come to sham

Could anyone suggest a better rhyme for spam?

Re:They have a special way of dealing with spam (1)

suwain_2 (260792) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464434)

Could anyone suggest a better rhyme for spam?

Bam!
Clam?
Damn!
Ham?
Jam.
Ma'am
RAM
Sam
Yams?

Re:They have a special way of dealing with spam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14464512)

yeah - - scam...

Re:They have a special way of dealing with spam (2, Funny)

corbettw (214229) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464541)

Could anyone suggest a better rhyme for spam?

There once was a young man name Sam,
Who spent his whole day sending spam.
    But at night he went drinking,
    And this led him to thinking,
That maybe he would end up being damned!

Hotmail servers (1)

Life700MB (930032) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464381)


One of the funniest trivia about hotmail is that, from a long time, it ran entirely over *BDS, even after it was bought by Microsoft.

I suppose they have changed to W2003 by now, but the image damage was done.


--
Superb hosting [tinyurl.com] 20GB Storage, 1_TB_ bandwidth, ssh, $7.95

Hundreds of admins for 10K servers is not so hot (-1, Troll)

gelfling (6534) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464389)

It's mediocre at best. Even with 'only' 200 admins that's a support ratio of 50:1 which is not all that great. We do 3-4x easily.

Re:Hundreds of admins for 10K servers is not so ho (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14464559)

I think you're missing the point that these server are geographically separate and it may be worth the "inefficiency" of having a full-time or on-call administrator that is near a hotmail colocated facility. If there was a cluster of server that were inaccessible in the Egyptian server (just to pick a random country), you wouldn't want to fly an admin out that's posted in England, even if it is only a few hours' flight. It's worth it to hire and train a local presence.

Re:Hundreds of admins for 10K servers is not so ho (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14464565)

Except if you RTFA, you'll find it's less than 100. Dumbass.

SMOOOT!!!! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14464483)

Vikings fans/enemies will understand.

Hotmale (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14464528)

How about a behind the scenes at hotmale.com?

Windows (2, Interesting)

certel (849946) | more than 8 years ago | (#14464542)

It's interesting, but for some specific uses, IIS does a great job of handling traffic. For example, streaming video from servers seem to run a lot better on IIS and seem to be a little less resource intensive. I'm not sure about the overall use of Hotmail, though.
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