This article explains how Microsoft is using Microsoft Windows NT systems to provide large-scale customer support through the Internet.
Microsoft first established a public FTP server duringthe summer of 1993. During the first six months of operation, it handledabout 280,000 anonymous logons. Use of this server increased dramaticallyas Internet popularity grew, and through the first half of 1994 the serverwas handling 250,000 anonymous logons per month and the T1 line (1.5million bits per second) it used to reach the Internet became saturated.Microsoft examined the situation and decided to expand the servicesoffered over the Internet.
Microsoft established three new Internet servers--each one an expandablemulti-processor Windows NT version 3.5 server capable of handling millionsof requests per month. To ensure adequate bandwidth for customer access tothe servers, the T1 line was upgraded to a T3 line capable of 45 millionbits per second.
The key services being provided are Gopher and World Wide Web.
Internet Gopher services are available from gopher.microsoft.com on port
- Gopher is a protocol that facilitates browsing and locating information
over a network. Gopher client and server software for many platforms(including Microsoft Windows) is available in the public domain. Microsoftis using public domain Gopher server software developed by the EuropeanMicrosoft Windows NT Academic Centre (EMWAC). The server software and moreinformation on its use can be found at emwac.ed.ac.uk in the directorypub/gophers.
The Microsoft Gopher server contains over 50,000 Knowledge Base articlescomplete with full text search indexing. Simply click your way throughthe Knowledge Base article menu to a specific product, then select a searchmenu. Type in a keyword and all articles for that product are searched forit. A list of articles matching the search word is returned, and clickingon one of the displayed titles downloads that article for display. Thetop-level item "Welcome to the Microsoft Gopher Server" has instructionsand updated information.
WORLD WIDE WEB SERVICE
HTTP (or HyperText Transfer Protocol) is widely used on the Internet forpublishing information with links to other items. It is often referred toas a HyperMedia service because it allows pointers to different mediaitems: text, pictures, sounds, movies, etc. The Microsoft World Wide Webserver named, www.microsoft.com contains information on the company'sproducts and strategies. The home page (or top-level display) on the serveralso has pointers to gopher.microsoft.com, so itmakes an ideal entry-point to Internet services at Microsoft. Microsoft isusing public domain HTTP server software developed by the EuropeanMicrosoft Windows NT Academic Centre (EMWAC). The server software and moreinformation on its use can be found at emwac.ed.ac.uk in the directorypub/https.
Several public domain HTTP clients are available for many platformsincluding Microsoft Windows. One of the more popular ones, MOSAIC, is amulti-protocol browser that allows you to access any of the common Internetservices from a GUI interface. This means that the client can attach towww.microsoft.com and view the homepage, then follow links to informationon any of the other servers. Some of the links even point to serverselsewhere on the Internet.
Microsoft cannot provide end user assistance on the use of public domainclients to reach our servers. Please consult your client softwaredocumentation or vendor as needed. We welcome suggestions for content,reports of apparent server-end problems, and general comments.Send them to these email addresses:
Due to volume, individual email responses usually are not possible. Allmail is read, but these are not product support aliases.