Intro to Mike Poulson

Intro to Mike Poulson

Hello I am Mike.


I at ~23 years old and from good old Boise Idaho (I am not a fan of Boise). I went to Borah and Capital High School while in Boise.  High School was crap at best! Although I would give almost anything to go back to that time in my life and redo some things.


Before Microsoft I was working for Usurf America’s Network Operations Center as the e-mail admin.  Our mail system was a custom Qmail ( build on top of Linux slackware.  It was a great job until the dumb management (my opinion) took the company down. After almost 1 year at that company I put in my notice to leave and come to Microsoft at the end of July 2000.  At this point I knew the ISP side of USURF America (, formally known as cyberhighway) was going down. They had moved tech support 3 times between Boise ID and Santa Fe New Mexico in about 6 months.  They spent way too much money on servers.  I mean we were running just fine on our old Intel Pi 75mhz – 100mhz systems when management decided to upgrade to HP Quad Proc Servers.  Talk about over kill! I moved to Seattle for Microsoft. 


I started as a contractor (aka an A-) on Aug. 12, 2000. My title was Software Test Engineer. I went Full time on 2/12/01. I was on a team that had the charter of testing Microsoft products in a live internet service provider (ISP) environment.  The idea was to find deployment blocking bug in Microsoft products before they went public.  ISPs seem to have a great environment to test because must products must work well together and there is not much budget to do things the high end way.  For example a web site does not work well if the SQL backend is having problems.  We ran all pre-release bits on our systems.  We even used Windows boxes as our network routers.  While this was interesting at times it was great to see Windows Server 2003 run OSPF and pass ~700mb/s of LIVE ISP traffic to the Internet. 


Our team had a 1 gigEthernet connection to our upstream internet provider.  This connection terminated in to a Windows router.  From there we offered any services that any normal ISP would except it was offered for FREE and only to Microsoft employees (and friend and family).  We offered home DSL, dial-up, web hosting (domains and non-domains), email, nntp/news groups, SQL, streaming media and collocation.  We terminated T-1 lines for DSL services on Windows Routers.  We used Sangoma ( and Microgate, frame-relay cards for our Windows based T-1 termination.  The most fun was our Native IPv6 connection.  Our network fully supported IPv6 (in all the Microsoft products that do support IPv6). 


For the record I tried to get more products to add IPv6 support but because the USA has like 70% of all the IPv4 space there is not much of a demand for it here.


So as a software tester my job was to find bugs.  So we would install latest builds of Windows or other products on our servers.  Most of our users were okay with the idea of Free ISP services with a little down time here and there. 


When we hit a bug we kept the server down until the dev or test owner signed off on the issue.  We would keep a server down until we knew why it went down in the first place.  This was only caused major problems a few times.  For example, before we had redundant main routers we hit a bug in the TCP/IP stack that caused the machines to bugcheck.  This took our entire lab down. We also had then set to break user-mode breaks into the kernel debugger.  This was required to catch bugs in things like dns.exe (which runs in user-mode).


So my day to day job was to install builds, fix problems and find cool new things to do.  This was like the best job at Microsoft.  I was able to do things I loved to do and we had a great team. 


I was the Networking, Security, Infrastructure, DNS, automation dev (vbscript, .Net) guy.  It was the best.  I worked on a component when I wanted and didn’t when I was bored with it. 


Projects that you can ask me about if you are interested are Native IPv6 on windows, DSL services via Windows, Windows routing (and OSPF), managing DNS zones and records with .NET (C# or 


After a re-org (which happens WAY too much at Microsoft) in Aug of 2004 my team moved to another org.  But their new management did not want any of the stuff that makes our team work (the infrastructure). 


So then I was moved into the Enterprise Engineering Center lab team.  While this was an exciting team to be on because of the HUGE amount of kick butt equipment it was not my team.  My team was gone never to return L.


So now my new team (the EEC lab team) manages the internet connection for my old team.  See because they did not have the want or desire or head count for me my team kept responsibility of keeping the internet connection up and running.  So it is like moving but still living in the same spot.  All the servers still live in our lab at the EEC.


This was my first management change in 4 years (almost to the day), which is very uncommon at Microsoft (like I said they re-org as often as it rains in Seattle).


It was an interesting change, so now time will tell on what happens in the years to come.


Our new management is pushing the idea of all of us doing Blogs and what not.  I think I am okay with most of it (Except when some management does not include the lab team on go blog emails because they think “we don’t have anything to contribute”).  If you read all of this I am amazed J but if you like what me or my team writes let us know so we can tell out management that you all do like to know how we manage our ever changing Avocent KVM, Extreme Networks Routers/Switches, SANs and Servers.


I hope to write about various project that I worked and am working on.  Including our IPv6 deployment.  My .NET based Windows RRAS input output filter application, my .NET based dynamic DNS service (that I have yet to finish) and others.