TechEd session report: Microsoft IT: How Microsoft Does IT

Posted by MBrant on June 11 2008, 11:43 PM. Posted in TechEd 2008.

“Microsoft IT: How Microsoft Does IT” by Barry Briggs, who recently took on the role of CTO for Microsoft IT, most recently led MSIT's MDM efforts.Barry, from MS IT, talked about what kind of  IT environment has, what major challenges and initiatives are for the team and what they are doing to face these challenges.The Microsoft IT environment  is huge. See slide here to get an idea on how big exactly: http://bink.nu/photos/news_article_images/picture42101.aspx). With more than 110k Vista clients,  143k mailboxes and 225m remote connections/month to manage, is easy to see designing and administrating this environment, is quite complex.One of the biggest challenges Microsoft faced in the past was the massive information database. Microsoft serves over 80m companies and over 1b individuals. All of this different and different kind of information all had different storages over the entire organization. Microsoft consolidated all of these datasets into one massive dataset and called it “Microsoft Individual And Organization (MIO)”. MIO includes many different types of information and is used in nearly every line of business application used by Microsoft today. They also made sure there aren’t any duplicates in the dataset and to solve this they use a tactic which they call (surprisingly enough)  “Lookup Before Create”. For instance: certain companies may be part of a larger group or corporation which already has an agreement or a SLA with Microsoft.Barry also talked on about business process modeling and how they separate business processes and technology (apps) with Solution domains. Using domains (with data models), they could easily change the technology without directly affecting the business process.Furthermore they showed a few line of business apps Microsoft employees use in their day to day life showing integration with the Outlook client and SharePoint services. The Outlook add-on was Silverlight based! Also Barry showed off a little something he cooked up using WPF: a  newsletter app. The tiny mini app allowed MS IT employees read the newsletter like a normal newspaper. He encourages people to pick up the free tools and get started! http://windowsclient.net/wpf/starter-kits/sce.aspxAs expected, Microsoft deploys a lot of security to keep its business secure and safe. However their firewalls and security doesn’t not only allow known source from inside the organization (employees) but also source outside the organization. The systems allow multiple sources of user authentication. Ranging from foreign AD to Live ID and proprietary connection types. Microsoft, obviously when looking back at the keynote yesterday, is committed to virtualization and they have set a goal for themselves: They want 80% of all new server workloads to work on the Hyper-V platform. ”No excuses!”As you may know, Microsoft is also committed to be green and help the environment. They select locations for new datacenters very carefully after in depth analysis of certain aspect on the site. Is there clean, renewable energy available? What fuel is being used when building the centers? Are resources required for the building acquired as green as possible? The new datacenter in Quincy, Washington is nearly 100% carbon neutral. The only exception is once month when they fire up the diesel backup power generators to test them. The new center in San Antonio, Texas is using a lot of wind power. Furthermore they use special reflective paint which lowers the overall temperature of the building and use “gray” water to cool the systems. To further please Gore, they help and train computer refurbish companies around to world to keep the waste to a minimum. Overall a very interesting session which gives a good insight on what drives a IT department of company such as Microsoft. I’d highly recommend you hit up the PPTX in the source!