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Behind the scenes of the Microsoft Social platform

Behind the scenes of the Microsoft Social platform

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The hypervisor stack in Hyper-V

Image via Wikipedia

I’d like to bring a little focus on some of the cool things going on behind the scenes with the Social platform that underpins our search, social bookmarking, and forums apps. We’ve spent the last month optimizing performance for our overall platform, leveraging resources like Akamai’s worldwide content delivery network (CDN), and deploying Microsoft’s most current technologies, like Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008. As a result of our focus on performance, we are actually seeing a 67% reduction in page load time for China, 58% for Europe and over an 25% improvement for the US. These gains apply to both social bookmarking and forums.

Earlier this month, we moved all Social platform web servers to run on Hyper-V virtual machines (VMs). Aside from providing a great showcase for an important Microsoft technology running in a high-scale production environment, virtualization makes it much easier to manage and add web servers, reduces datacenter costs through server consolidation (smaller foot print), with less power consumption and less cooling required. Going forward, we’ll be able to rapidly build out with VMs too. We are now running 24 VMs (with room to grow) that host the primary applications. Each app is running on a dedicated cluster of VMs, so we can add and remove capacity as needed to each app.

In the past few weeks, we’ve identified a few more ways to further improve our performance, and you should be seeing the fruits of those efforts late next week with our next scheduled platform release. For the interesting details on investigating perf issues related to VMs, caching, and query plans, see this post from Vince Rohr, one of our dev leads.

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