Posted by: kurtsh | September 4, 2022

INFO: Microsoft uses a ‘scream test’ to silence its unused servers

With Halloween just around the corner, it seems like a good time to remind everyone to do their scream tests to get rid of zombie servers. (Courtesy of Mark Simos, Microsoft Lead Cybersecurity Architect)

imageI talked previously about our efforts here in Microsoft Digital to inventory our internal-to-Microsoft on-premises environments to determine application relationships (mapping Microsoft’s expedition to the cloud with good cartography) as well as look at performance info for each system (the awesome ugly truth about decentralizing operations at Microsoft with a DevOps model).

With this info, it was time to begin making plans to move to the cloud. Looking at the data, our overall CPU usage for on-premises systems was far lower than we thought—averaging around six percent! We realized this was so low due to many underutilized systems. First things first, what to do with the systems that were “frozen,” or not being used, based upon the 0-2 percent CPU they were utilizing 24/7?

We created a plan to closely examine those assets towards the goal of moving as few as possible. We used our home-built change management database (CMDB) to check whether there was a recorded owner. In some cases, we were able to work with that owner and retire the system.

Before we turned even one server off, we had to be sure it wasn’t being used. (If a server is turned off and no one is there to see it, does it make a sound?)

Read about establishing plans for a scream test here:


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