Microsoft's Windows Server 2012 now powering all Bing searches worldwide

Microsoft's Windows Server 2012 now powering all Bing searches worldwide

Summary: The near-final Release Candidate of Windows Server 2012 included no new features since Beta, but lots of performance tweaks that made it good enough for the Bing team.

TOPICS: Windows

When Microsoft delivered the near-final Release Candidate (RC) of Windows Server 2012 on May 31, company officials told me there were no new features introduced to the product since the beta hit in late February.

So does that mean Windows Server 2012 is, for all intents and purposes, "done" -- as opposed to Windows 8 client, which is still being modified considerably even though the Softies are calling it "feature-complete"? In a word, yes.

And if you need more proof of Windows Server 2012's sea-worthiness, Microsoft announced on June 7 that the company is is serving up all worldwide results from using Windows Server 2012 servers running the Release Candidate.

In a post to the Windows Server blog on June 7, Mukul Sabharwal, a software development engineer on the Bing team, said that "Bing is adopting and deploying Windows Server 2012 as fast as they can" because the coming Windows Server release is basically a cloud-optimized on-premises operating system.

Sabharwal said the Bing team is taking advantage of four of Windows Server 2012's features in particular:

  • Built-in Microsoft .NET Framework 4.5, included with Windows Server 2012, including the background garbage collection and associated improved latencies
  • Improved performance at startup, enabled by the multicore JIT (just in time) functionality of .NET 4.5
  • Ability to collect call stacks for 64-bit .NET JITted applications
  • Evaluation of Hyper-V 3 (the version of Hyper-V in Window Server 2012)

"What began as exploratory evaluations of the impact of a migration quickly led to a full-scale deployment," Sabharwal said.

It's worth noting that just because there were technically "no new features" introduced between the Beta and Release Candidate of Windows Server 2012 doesn't mean there were no improvements made between the two milestones. In fact, Microsoft made a number of performance tweaks to the operating system since the beta was downloaded more than 300,000 times.

Microsoft officials shared this chart, showing what's changed, performance- and scale-wise since the company delivered Windows Server 2008 R2 and the Windows Server 2012 RC;

(click on table above to enlarge)

In terms of what's changed between the beta and the RC, there's not much information company officials are sharing.

In related Server news today, Microsoft has released version 3.3 of its Linux integration Services.

As Microsoft Most Valuable Professional Aidan Finn noted, the latest iteration supports the versions of Hyper-V hypervisors that are part of Windows 8 Release Preview and Windows Server 2012. (Linux Integration Services already supported Hyper-V in  Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2.)

The supported guest operating systems now include:

  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 6.0-6.2 x86 and x64 (Up to 4 vCPU)
  • CentOS 6.0-6.2 x86 and x64 (Up to 4 vCPU)
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.0-6.2 x86 and x64 (Up to 32 vCPU when used on a Windows 8 Release Preview or Windows Server 2012 host)
  • CentOS 6.0-6.2 x86 and x64 (Up to 32 vCPU when used on a Windows 8 Release Preview or Windows Server 2012 host)

"RHEL 6.2 and CentOS 6.2 were added to the list in v3.3," according to Finn.

The Microsoft code is based on the latest version of the code upstream in the Linux kernel, backported to the kernel that is used in RHEL and CentOS 6. With this update, all the drivers have exited the staging tree of the Linux kernel, and are now part of the kernel itself, I've heard.

Topic: Windows


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Very cool. MJ you should ask how much less hw/power they need for the same

    workload as under the previous version. That'd be interesting to know for something the scale of bing.
    Johnny Vegas
  • more reasons why bing sucks

    using windoze instead of Linux. More people now will avoid bing.
    The Linux Geek
  • Ahhh....

    That's why there have been so many reports of Bing's crawler being a little bit too true to its name the past year or so, as well as causing random problems for websites due to, strangely enough, overly aggressive bot scans.
    • re: Ahhh....

      Cool story bro.

      • There's this thing called...

        ...Google. Try doing a search on "Not Only Is Bing's Crawler (MSNBot) Slow, But Also Stupid" for one widely circulated article on Bing's bungling.
  • Server 2012

    I'm really liking the server is lighting fast. All the programs I normally use are working compatibly issues. I did install windows desktop experience and it has Areo themes. It even seems to be faster on internet browsing. I use Rockmelt and chrome as web browsers. I was disappointed to find out that it doesn't have the ability in task manager to disable programs on start up like windows 8 does. But over all I'm pretty happy with the new Server.
  • An OS outside regular support, testing and patching...

    to run a popular internet facing IT platform.

    This should be fun; crackers rejoice!
    Richard Flude
    • What do you mean, exactly?

      Do you mean to say Microsoft isn't actually supporting Windows 8 (and Server 2012) with security updates and the like because it is a Release Preview/Release Candidate?

      Because they do provide security updates to these products. If you used Windows 8 you would see the security updates just as you would with Windows 7, Vista and XP.
      • I am sure the translation would be close to

        [i]I am doing my best to troll, and I will say whatever thought comes to mind, no matter to how little sense it will make.[/i]
        John Zern
      • .

        Yea, apparently if bing broke, the bing team would ring the Server team and the server team would jut laugh at them and do nothing.
  • i wish microsoft would

    enable the ability to activate and deactivate the metro UI in the client version of windows just like they are able to do on the server edition.
  • Aside from Microsoft participating in a little dog-fooding..

    ..I'm not so sure too many people will care.. Of course, as most IT pros know, nobody really notices until failure, so if Bing comes down, I'm sure we'll hear about it.. In fact, I'm sure SJVN is preparing an article right now in anticipation of it.
  • Windows Server 2012

    It is too early for Windows fans to celebrate since Windows Server 2012 serving Bing is considerably less work and needed performance requirements than Google serving up more than five times (5x) as many searches and ads.

    A while back it was reported on ZDNet and other Microsoft centric media that the company was actually licensing all or part of the Zettabyte File System from Oracle to replace their aging and inefficient NTFS.

    Since an Operating System (OS) File System is one of the most critical components (next to kernel), will Ms. Foley or any other Microsofty report on this topic, or is it a secret?