.NET Crashes and Burns

Will this "bad week" bring Microsoft's .NET campaign to a halt? Some commentators think so - we don't.

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It's been a bad week for Microsoft on the Internet. Some say this chain of events demonstrates Microsoft's inability to manage networks and brings the viability of their .NET initiative into question. Here's what happened.
  • Monday 22-Jan-01 - the Melissa virus has returned to the wild and spreads through e-mail systems. News later in the week blamed an unannounced change Microsoft made in Word file formats.

  • [ UPDATE: 02-Feb-01 - It has been revealed through the complaints of Microsoft employees that Microsoft's internal e-mail system bogged down completely during this same week. E-mails to the next cubicle took up to 4 days to be delivered.

    Microsoft spokespersons have assured us this was "absolutely not a problem with Microsoft Exchange Server". Oh yes, we believe them, we really do. ]

  • Tuesday 23-Jan-01 - the Microsoft New Zealand Web site was penetrated through a weakness in Microsoft IIS (Internet Information Server). The Web site was replaced by This Page - and it remained that way pretty much all day.

  • Late Tuesday Microsoft's Web sites worldwide started to falter. Finally the lights went out completely AND STAYED OUT FOR 23 HOURS!.

  • Wednesday 24-Jan-01 - All Microsoft sites, including www.microsoft.com, MSN (Microsoft network), Hot Mail, and Encarta (Microsoft's travel service) were out ALL DAY, coming back on in the early evening (US Pacific Standard Time). Microsoft blamed the outage on a technician (an MCSE?) wrongly programming a router.

  • Wednesday 24-Jan-01 - Microsoft settled with Sun and is permanently banned from Java development and distribution. Java is the premier language for Web and Internet based applications.

  • Thursday 25-Jan-01 - Informed by recent events how fragile Microsoft's network is, script kiddies launched a DoS (Denial of Service) attack against the DNS servers, bringing Microsoft's worldwide Internet empire down again for much of the day.

  • Friday 26-Jan-01 - as their sites started acting up again, a desperate Microsoft outsourced their DNS service to Akamai. To add insult to injury, Akamai's Microsoft dedicated DNS servers are all running Linux.

  • Friday 26-Jan-01 - Rob Enderle of Giga Information Group (a major Information Technology market research organization) said of Microsoft's campaign to promote it's "bet the company" .NET initiative, "It's destroyed".

Analysis

IF Microsoft is not lying (always a big if), then it's clear they know next to nothing about designing, managing or securing networks. Having all the DNS (Domain Name Service) servers for a worldwide network in one room connected to the Internet through a single router is beyond dumb.

Allowing a low level technician to reprogram a critical border router without thorough review and management sign-off is gross negligence. A mistake could cost, well, in this case, $$ billions $$. Taking more than 23 hours to find and correct the problem is simply absurd - either that or it isn't what really happened.

Some commentators figure that after this week's demonstration, Microsoft's .NET campaign is dead, because businesses have seen how reliable Microsoft's network is.

The point of Microsoft's .NET Initiative is that you will run your business over Microsoft's network, that software is a "subscription service", obtained from Internet servers, and your critical business data will reside on the servers of ASPs (Application Service Providers), not on your own computers.

Some commentators feel Microsoft will cancel it's upcoming $250 million .NET advertising campaign for fear it would be treated as a joke. I think they will go ahead - after all, this is the company who's current saturation advertising campaign (featuring a cut-out Blue Screen of Death) rubs in just how crappy the Microsoft products you already own are. There is no anticipation of customer intelligence here.

Some commentators feel business will now reject .NET. I disagree. So enamored is business with the concept of "we have no choice" most will embrace .NET. Microsoft is a monopoly precisely because business "decision makers" want to avoid making decisions.

.NET will sputter and wheeze and limp along, not because businesses don't accept it, but because it is unworkable. Businesses that embrace .NET will find themselves uncompetitive, but the last thing they will blame is the decision to go with Microsoft.

A minority of businesses have already rejected the Microsoft.NET future and are recasting their business systems with Java, thin clients, Unix, Linux and other products compliant with open standards. It is they who will have the competitive advantage.

As for Akamai's Microsoft DNS servers running Linux, what do you expect. Akamai does this for a living - they have to use something that works.

Andrew Grygus

Links

  • Wired News - Microsoft outsources DNS Service management.
  • Linux Today - "Microsoft's .NET Campaign Likely Finished".
  • The Register - "Microsoft crippled by Script Kiddies".
  • The Register - "Microsoft mail servers stuffed for 4 days".

©:Andrew Grygus - Automation Access - www.aaxnet.com - aax@aaxnet.com
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