Building and evolving the MSDN site is a challenge. I am not stating this to try to impress you with a “gee that is hard" vibe, but to acknowledge that when you run systems and sites that have histories that span multi-year life cycles (decades wrt MSDN <g/>), you have a whole different responsibility to the people who depend worldwide on what you do. Even the simplest, flip decision can have impact on the productivity of people who make their living supporting, implementing, writing applications and defending your efforts. We take this responsibility very seriously and it is imperative that we make the best decisions to keep developers minimally impacted by things we do on MSDN in the Library and still move productivity forward.
We set out on journey to re-build MSDN (and now TechNet and Expression as we have on-boarded their businesses to our platform) as a data driven system that could scale to the large amount of documents that we knew it would house over time. These plans pushed us faster than we even imagined as Visual Studio became a juggernaut of release candidates, community technical previews and beta's with each documentation release needing us to be more flexible and performant. Today the MSDN system houses around 11 million documents in SQL Server.
We started the new system to release with Visual Studio 2005 and it has progressed a great deal in that time. I will blog on that in another post. One of the persistent issues that was hanging out there and bugged you and really bugged me, was the continued existence of the classic MSDN cluster that housed a mixed bag of older, localized library content and other disparate sites that had not been orginally prioritized to migrate to the new system when we built MSDN2. The good news is that we applied some folks from the team who are really good at being persistent and they managed to work with the teams and get all the content migrated and off the old system. Yesterday we shut off the old cluster and today we finished the collapse of the URL into just http://MSDN.Microsoft.com!
Now all URL’s point to the same site and same content.
My apologies for the time it took to finish this and I look forward to your feedback.
Larry W Jordan Jr - Product Unit Manager for the MSDN and TechNet Infrastructure and Services Team