The new MSN.com on Microsoft Azure


A few months ago we shipped the redesigned and modernized MSN.com. This has been the most ambitious and most challenging revision of MSN – both technically and logistically. The technical part was about rewriting MSN using latest web standards and building core infrastructure ground up and optimized for Microsoft Azure, while the logistical part was to coordinate a sim-ship of not just the “Homepage” but the entire network of deep, rich ‘'channels” – Entertainment, Money, Weather, News, Food & Drink, Health & Fitness, Lifestyle, Autos, Travel.

Here is a great customer story blog post from MSN engineering team with great bits of key stats compiled by Eric Passmore about our content management system that was also written ground up optimized for Azure stack. The MSN Case Study (pdf) goes in greater detail about our CMS at cloud scale.

I’ve been busy building the SDK used by the MSN network. Infact, my team was front and center of this project, building the core web infrastructure that powers the rendering of the entire MSN network of sites. We also built and optimized the crown jewel MSN Homepage for the unique high scale traffic the homepage receives. MSN ranks #8 in March 2015 Syndicated Ad Focus Entities with 132 million unique users. As any web app developer knows, one page-view results in more than 1 web requests to the server; and in our MSN scenario we serve upwards of a billion http requests (main page views, ajax responses, authentication etc.) every day.

The entire project took a little over an year, but each and every day was packed with exciting learnings and joys of working on a range of industry standard technologies (asp.net MVC, Azure technologies, RESTful service calls) and high scale and high availability computing challenges (caching considerations, optimal CDN usage, A/B flighting, RPS).

I hope to blog my learnings, techniques, MVC and Azure optimization tips gained while designing and shipping MSN network as one of the top 10 Internet web properties.

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