This article was published by VNU Business Publications Ltd. It first appeared on April 22, 1998. Since it has already been archived, and I have found no direct link for getting to it on VNU's site, I'm including it on my site. If you wish to verify the authenticity of the source, you will need to go to the VNU link above and do a search on "hotmail".

My special thanks to Paul Fischer for calling my attention to the article, and to Peter Chen, who was kind enough to send me the much needed URL.

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 , 22-April -1998