Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2 betas go live
Huge public turnout online for a beta package that flirts with the 3 GB mark, forced Microsoft Friday afternoon to suspend distribution of its Windows 7 beta.
In a short blog post this afternoon on the Windows Mobile Developer blog, evangelist Brandon LeBlanc wrote, "Due to very heavy traffic we're seeing as a result of interest in the Windows 7 Beta, we are adding some additional infrastructure support to the Microsoft.com properties before we post the public beta."
Last May, in a test of its operating system's support for hardware-assisted virtualization, Microsoft began a process of systematically migrating all of its public-facing servers to virtual machines. At the time, it was ascertained that the move did not measurably impact performance, especially since the migration was staged to take place in phases while their sites remained live.
Though Microsoft's servers might have been taken down today had they been run on all-physical machines, the shutoff of what was supposed to have been an important distribution cycle may also be a testament to the need for greater scalability in Microsoft's ever-evolving data center model.
"The volume has been phenomenal," reads Microsoft's apology to users tonight. "We're in the process of adding more servers to handle the demand. We're sorry for the delay and we'll re-post the Beta as soon as we can ensure a quality download experience."
12:18 pm EST January 9, 2009 - This morning, the first beta build of Windows 7 for online release went live for the first 2.5 million sign-ups. That might not be a problem, given the progress folks are having trying to be first in line.
The official download page for the first public beta of Microsoft's next operating system, went live Friday morning.
"The Beta is free and available to the first 2.5 million people who download it, starting January 9, 2009," reads an FAQ posted by Microsoft this morning. "However, because Microsoft isn't providing technical support for the Beta, we strongly recommend that only experienced computer users sign up."
Word of the online availability of this monster download spread very quickly. By noon Friday, Microsoft's servers were answering download requests with 1033 "Server is too busy" errors. Like callers in a radio contest getting busy signals, perhaps the only way to get through is by retrying.
2:17 pm EST January 9, 2009 - By mid-afternoon Friday, we weren't having any better luck with our Windows 7 beta download.
However, the first public beta of Windows Server 2008 R2 -- which borrows the same kernel as Win7 -- was also released today, and downloads aren't nearly as difficult there.