I. Am. Amazed.
Before I discuss the source of my amazement, allow me declare my bias. First, I work for IBM – and while there’s no poster in the lunchroom that says “Microsoft Bad” – there is definitely a strong spirit of competition here. Parked in the bull’s eye on our competitive dart board is Microsoft. However, from a purely personal perspective, I have great respect for Microsoft. I run Windows XP, I live in PowerPoint, and I generally respect their ability to run a software business. I’ve even defended them when I thought they were unfairly attacked.
This is too much. Bing, the Microsoft search engine went dark for 30 minutes yesterday. Why? The following note appears on the Bing developers blog:
The cause of the outage was a configuration change during some internal testing that had unfortunate and unintended consequences.
Effectively, what they’re saying is that the were performing system configuration testing on a production system. Whoa. It’s one thing to perform functional testing on a production system; I can easily see how Microsoft testers would run Bing searches on their live system. But to run configuration tests, where you are actively modifying configuration attributes on a production system – especially one of such strategic importance. That’s risky – too risky, some might say. That type of testing should be done in a lab, in house, in as close to a replica of the full production system as possible. At least a scale model. Microsoft has those types of resources. Why that didn’t happen here, I can only imagine. Surely, Microsoft knows better. I hope.