Microsoft HotMail

Gregory Alan Bolcer (
Mon, 11 May 1998 14:58:11 -0700

Any confirmations from Microsoft? I'm not saying where I got this.

Solaris calls Hotmail shots for Microsoft

Microsoft has decided to get the hots for Sun and is using Solaris to
run its acclaimed Hotmail web-based e-mail service instead of NT.

The software giant has attempted to exchange the Sun/Solaris
infrastructure of Hotmail with NT since buying it in December 1997.
However, the demands of supporting 10 million users reportedly proved
too great for NT, and Solaris was reinstated.

In a leaked report, sources close to Hotmail said: "... its whole mail
server infrastructure is Solaris. NT couldn't handle it. On the web
server, they're running MP Pentiums and Apache on FreeBSD. They're
moving to Solaris for threads. The engineering team did its best to run
NT - and failed. The issue's being escalated."

Hotmail is running Apache's /1.2.1 web server which is not available
for NT due to technical difficulties. A statement on Apache's website
states: "The road to Windows NT has not been a pretty one. Several
attempts have been made, both by Apache Group members and outside
folks, but due to a lack of stability and a clear consensus on how to
manage a true cross-platform development project, NT is not yet a
standard platform supported by Apache."

Microsoft is currently recruiting engineers for Hotmail, but NT
specialists need not apply. Hotmail's website lists vacancies for an
operations software engineer and a QA engineer - and the common
requirement is for Unix experience.

Judy Gibbons, director of the Microsoft Network, was unaware of the
hardware behind Hotmail, but said: "We looked at all the on-line mail
services and Hotmail was far and away the best. It has the most proven
and scalable architecture."

First appeared in Network News, 22-April - 1998