Microspeak: The planned unplanned outage, and other operations jargon

Raymond Chen

The Operations group at Microsoft manage the servers which keep the company running. And they have their own jargon which is puzzling to those of us who don’t spend all our days in a noisy server room.

  • Unplanned Unplanned Outage
  • Planned Unplanned Outage
  • Immediate Deployment Timeframe. This one even has its own TLA: IDT.

From what I can gather, an Unplanned Outage would be better termed an Unscheduled Outage: We did not have it marked off on our calendar that the server would be unavailable at this time, but it ended up that way. These unscheduled outages fall into two categories: An Unplanned Unplanned Outage is an unscheduled outage that took place of its own volition. In other words, the server crashed or somebody accidentally kicked the power cable. On the other hand, the paradoxically-named Planned Unplanned Outage is an unscheduled outage that took place because the operations team took the server down out of schedule. For example, the server may have started thrashing, and they think rebooting it will help. But the one that sounds really Microspeaky is Immediate Deployment Timeframe. Here’s a citation:

Date: June 7, 2011 4:52 PM

Due to the critical nature of this issue, the hotfix will be deployed in an Immediate Deployment Timeframe. All affected servers will be remediated on June 8.

Start: June 7, 2011 11:00PM
End: June 8, 2011 12:00AM

In other word, Immediate Deployment Timeframe means as soon as possible. Note, however that it doesn’t mean now, which is what I originally thought immediate meant until I looked at the start/end times and compared them to the message time. There must be some other TLA that means now, but what is faster than immediate? Bonus Microspeak: remediate.

[Raymond is currently away; this message was pre-recorded.]


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