Judging from the weekend comments, and because my last post answered one of the other pressing topics, the big question on many of your minds is “When will my account be switched out of beta?”. Unfortunately the official answer is, I really can’t say because exactly when the roll-out reaches you depends on the “farm” (short for server farm) where your account “lives.”
So to elaborate on this mysterious process, I managed to track down Skotch Vail, Director of Yahoo! Mail’s Front End (translation: the engineering folks working the rollout), and while I can’t tell you all individually when your accounts will go live, I can now offer a little more background on the process involved.
So without further ado, here’s the scoop. As has been mentioned before, there are A LOT of accounts to transition: 255 million (according to comScore). All of these user accounts are divided up into hundreds of farms. In advance of every release, we go through extensive internal QA, followed up by selective roll-outs to large numbers of employees (extended QA), but since we cannot replicate every possible scenario of user behavior, browser selection, computer hardware, operating system, and feature usage, we gradually roll the product out to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible.
As we roll the updated code out to each farm, our engineers are closely monitoring for unforeseen issues. It’s also a fairly complex process because of the different types of Mail accounts on our system.
Of course you will now ask why we announce before everyone has it. We know that once it goes out to anyone, word travels fast, so we’d better make sure we explain ourselves. We realize it’s not a totally perfect process, but we really feel like this is the best way to handle something of this magnitude.
Hopefully that helps explain things a little, and thanks much to Skotch for taking the time to chat.