right now I am on a conference here in Seattle. Beside the fact that this conference is super cool, I used the chances and met with some people. Today I met Judd, a South African guy who is the lead for the operations of the MSN servers in Asia-Pacific. So he is located in Hong-Kong right now and visiting Redmond (Just as me somehow).
Once upon a time I was very proud of the network a friend and I made up in my university. I know learned what huge networks are. MSN has three main centers hosting around 20-30,000 servers. They make use of MOM and things and it was – sorry – the hell interesting to listen to him. Interesting to know that MSN is just a normal customer to Microsoft: They use the same processes to get support as all our customers can. They use the same bits of Windows Server but have their own configuration. He was really in favour of the IIS regarding throughput and stability. They are not beta testers. So – other than Microsoft.com – they do not use beta software and adopt technologies whenever this makes sense to them.
They use network load balancing – both hardware and the Windows off-the-shelve solution. They do not use explicit firewalls. There is so much more to talk about like patch-management etc. But I will leave this to Bernhard Frank, evangelist in my team and our guy for web hosting.