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"Microsoft has replaced P2P Skype supernodes with thousands of Linux boxes" from http://arstechnica.com/business/2012/05/skype-replaces-p2p-s...

Wow. Does it make it the first, large scale, internal(¹) deployment of non-Windows infrastructure by Microsoft? The question is: why? Do their engineers managed to convince the company that Windows is ill-suited to the task? I am quite stupefied.

(¹) "Internal" as opposed to situations where Microsoft inherited non-Windows infrastructure from external acquisitions, such as when they acquired Hotmail in 1997 and their 5000 FreeBSD servers (eventually migrated to Windows.)




Do their engineers managed to convince the company that Windows is ill-suited to the task?

They acquired skype. So the question would be, Is it worth rewriting a ton of working code just so we can say it runs on our platform.

I'm pretty sure Hotmail ran Linux or BSD for quite a while after Microsoft bought them (though probably not any more)

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But no code needed to be rewritten. Skype supernodes were working on Windows before (on Windows machines in the P2P network.) Microsoft effectively stopped supporting Windows!

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IIRC, there was a failed attempt to move it to Windows NT 4.

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Hotmail ran on Linux for a very long time.

Skype may yet transition to Windows servers, but MS are hardly going to insist they make it their first and only priority. That would be insane.

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I think you mean FreeBSD.

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Hotmail never ran on Linux, it was all FreeBSD.

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I think rdl made that point well when he posted 4 hours before you did. You are both correct- my memory was faulty. But the main point about Hotmail running on a non-MS OS still stands.

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Windows Server powers Messenger and the upcoming notification service, which do exactly the same thing as Skype: messaging and video.

Moving an entire service to a different OS isn't quite that simple, so the simplest thing was to just add capacity using whatever was running at the moment.

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I was under the impression that they've used Linux in the past effectively as a firewall for their internet sites. Whether this was a temporary response to a specific situation or a semi-permanent thing I don't know but I recall reading that there was a period where Microsoft.com was returning non-Windows header information.

While they obviously don't publicise it I think they've probably used Linux where it's appropriate for some time now.

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If I remember correctly this was done by Akamai and not directly by themselves, while this time the nodes are effectively under Microsoft's control.

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MSFT used Linux for DNS servers for a while, its unclear why they did that since they had so many other FreeBSD acquisitions anyways. Some loadbalancers returned BSD/Linux fingerprints when scanned, but its unlikely that MSFT actually used Linux in the direct path anywhere.

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Heck, MS contributed to the Linux kernel so it could be virtualised well.

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