VNU Net: Hotmail to finally move to Windows
Aug 09, 2000, 19:52 (13 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by John Leyden)
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By John Leyden, VNU Net
Microsoft will this autumn finally address the embarrassing fact
that its Hotmail email service is not running on Windows
Hotmail users have been promised a superior service once
Microsoft completes the migration of the service from open source
technology to Windows 2000 this autumn.
Shereen Meharg, marketing communications manager at MSN, said
Hotmail's infrastructure would be moved from Apache Web servers on
FreeBSD to Internet Information Server on Windows 2000 by autumn
"The move to Windows 2000 servers will be seamless and the 67
million Hotmail users will not be inconvenienced," said Meharg.
"We'll get better efficiency with Windows 2000 than with FreeBSD
and we'll be able to expand services."
Among the new services expected are a Microsoft Office
spellchecker and better internationalisation tools. Existing
facilities such as antivirus scanning and spam blocking will be
retained, although it is unclear whether these will be Windows 2000
versions of existing applications or sourced from different
Hotmail running on open source technology has been a continuous
embarrassment for Microsoft since it bought the service in December
1997. This discomfort has been only been intensified as the
software giant's strategy has shifted to the delivery of services
over the internet.
Reliable reports suggest that Microsoft has been trying to move
the service on to Windows NT since 1998 but has run up against
scalability issues. Now, it seems, Windows' time has come.
"With Windows 2000 the time has come to migrate. We're confident
that Hotmail will have better uptime after the move," said Meharg,
who added that Microsoft also hopes to reduce development costs by
using Windows 2000.
Internet consultant Netcraft reports that some Windows 2000
machines have recently been moved into the load balancing pool,
with currently between 90 and 95 per cent of requests being served
by the established FreeBSD/Apache platform, and five to 10 per cent
from Windows 2000.
Nathan Gilks, technical services manager at PSINet, an ISP that
is heavily involved in hosting the servers of companies providing
services over the internet, said it is still evaluating Windows
PSINet offers hosting on servers running Windows NT4, Linux and
Solaris, and finds that its Microsoft servers have more downtime.
However, Gilks stressed that this is not the only
"There are pros and cons to using either Linux or Windows for
hosting. With Windows there are a lot of applications available,
but Linux is free, and open source code can be tailored to suit our
customers," he said.