We eat our own Dogfood in Exchange and talk about it often so we wanted to share some very special insights with you on the process.  What is Dogfood? It's a slang term we use for using our own software, including alpha and beta varieties internally at Microsoft prior to shipping our products, in order to validate scenarios at scale, in a real world environment with real users who need to be productive. This is an important part of our ship cycle since it not only allows us to work out production-level bugs or issues but also validate deployment guidance, documentation, support paths and align scenarios with other partner products such as Windows, Office, SharePoint and Lync. 

In the Exchange world, this means that we deploy extremely early version of Exchange in production starting with a few mailboxes, hundreds of mailboxes, then working with MSIT to move thousands of mailboxes - and eventually deploying to the entire company. 

This also means we actually dogfood Exchange Online as well and therefore we maintain an ongoing hybrid Exchange deployment at Microsoft. We’ve recently posted some TechNet Radio podcasts on hybrid on the road to TechEd as well as publishing some Exchange Deployment Assistant updates and many of these tips, tricks and processes were validated through the magic of dogfood. Check out this IT Showcase Whitepaper Microsoft IT Plans for Hybrid Deployment of Microsoft Office 365 Messaging which covers how we deployed hybrid early on, what important lessons we learned, and how this helps Microsoft IT beyond our usual dogfooding validation goals.

Exchange folks are crazy about Dogfood! But don't just take my word on it… Check out this ESE Access to Exchange video to get a taste of our Dogfooding sense of adventure.

Comment back and please let us know what you think.

Ann Vu