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September 14, 2006

Bye Bye NTDEV?

The Microsoft corporate network, as you might expect, is set up with a series of Windows domains. Most people in Redmond are in a domain called REDMOND, and then there are domains for other sites.

But, there are also some domains that exist for historical reasons. For example, my account is in a domain called NTDEV. I don't know the exact story but NTDEV is not an "official" domain managed by Microsoft IT; I believe it is managed by the NT (errr I mean Windows) team itself for test purposes. And there are other domains like this floating around.

It's not usually a big problem that I'm in NTDEV. The domains all trust each other so my single logon works. Occasionally when someone wants to give me permission somewhere they have to take two cracks at it because they assume I am in REDMOND.

But recently, a proposed change to a site that we use in Engineering Excellence would have meant that my NTDEV account wouldn't work and I would need to move to REDMOND.

At one level it's just a hassle; all the privileges I had been granted with my NTDEV account would need to be re-granted to my REDMOND account. But it also affected me at a deeper level. The reason I'm in NTDEV was because I was working on NT way back in the early 1990s when the domains were first set up, and there was no official IT management of domains, so the NT team had to manage its own domain. So being in NTDEV is a badge of old-fogeyness that I value (it could well be that new people who join Windows also wind up in NTDEV, but I got it way back when). So moving to REDMOND wouldn't just be a pain, it would be letting go of...something.

There's actually a related historical artifact that I'm clinging to. Since there are two people at Microsoft named Adam Barr, my name in the address book is decorated so it looks like "Adam Barr (WIN NT)". This extra bit was added in the late 1990s when the second AB showed up and I was working on NT (and it was still called NT). When I came back in 2003 they revived my old account and it still had the same name. I was working in Windows Server, not the core OS division, and it wasn't NT any more, but I still felt I had a reasonable excuse for keeping the "(WIN NT)" tag, which like the NTDEV domain I viewed as a badge of honor. Now I have moved to Engineering Excellence and the tag is even more obsolete, but I haven't changed it yet. Partly it's because if I changed it to "(EE)" or something it would confuse the people who were used to "(WIN NT)", but partly it's because I like the historical association--even if I haven't written production code for Windows in 6+ years.

On the domain change, I was tempted to beg the authors of the new site that was forcing the switch, explaining how I just couldn't leave NTDEV (possibly using the words "wither", "die", and "hothouse flower"). Luckily, it turns out that I can request a second account in REDMOND and use it only for connecting to this one site. I'll need to remember two accounts and two passwords, but at least I'll still be in NTDEV.

Posted by AdamBa at September 14, 2006 08:32 AM

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I feel for you! Actually, I know the other Adam Barr. He worked in my team for about a year before leaving for another group at Microsoft. He's a really nice guy.

Anywho - new people in the Windows org are given an NTDEV account. When I switched to Windows Networking in 2003 from MSN I had to switch over from REDMOND. When I went back to MSN in 2004 (long story) I had to switch back. Oddly, some of the Sharepoint servers (non-NTDEV ones) still have my alias coming up as NTDEV and I need to request them to switch it over.

I always got the feeling from the people in my group that they wore the NTDEV name as a badge of honor. I thought it was a little silly at first, but I must admit I bought in to it for a while. However, life as a lowly REDMONDite is pretty cool nonetheless. :)

Posted by: Phil at September 14, 2006 08:36 PM