LISA '07 – Abstract
Pp. 231–242 of the Proceedings
On Designing and Deploying Internet-Scale Services
James Hamilton, Windows Live Services Platform
The system-to-administrator ratio is commonly used as a rough
metric to understand administrative costs in high-scale services. With
smaller, less automated services this ratio can be as low as 2:1,
whereas on industry leading, highly automated services, we've seen
ratios as high as 2,500:1. Within Microsoft services, Autopilot is
often cited as the magic behind the success of the Windows Live Search
team in achieving high system-to-administrator ratios. While auto-administration is important, the most important factor is actually the
service itself. Is the service efficient to automate? Is it what we
refer to more generally as operations-friendly? Services that are
operations-friendly require little human intervention, and both detect
and recover from all but the most obscure failures without
administrative intervention. This paper summarizes the best practices
accumulated over many years in scaling some of the largest services at
MSN and Windows Live.
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