More on the Bing back-end platform: Bing Cosmos and SCOPE

Last week we reported that Microsoft is currently rolling out the “Tiger” search indexing platform for Bing. Well there’s more to Microsoft’s investments in the Bing back-end platform than just indexing. According to Mary Jo Foley, there’s two more codenames within the Microsoft that looks after the next-generation search infrastructure – “Cosmos”, the cloud storage and computational engine, and “SCOPE”, the parallel querying language over Cosmo.

These codenames were surfaced on quite a few Bing job posts, and one of which provides a nice overview of what “Cosmos” is, and how it relates to “SCOPE”:

Cosmos is one of the world’s largest distributed computational and storage platforms running over many tens of thousands of machines across multiple geographically distributed data centers. It is the platform that stores and analyzes petabytes of data to improve Bing search relevance, ad monetization and provide mission critical business and customer intelligence information that drives product strategy across the Online Services Division.

Cosmos delivers a full stack of services, a web interface, SQL like language (SCOPE) over a massively parallel computing and storage platform. We’ve just scratched the surface of what is possible in this area and are embarking on an ambitious project to extend the reach and capabilities of the Cosmos storage platform, execution engine, query language, developer tools, and data management tools.

Another job post explains what SCOPE is:

As part of Cosmos, we build a highly parallel querying capability (called SCOPE) that allows front-end customers to focus on solving problems as if they are using a single machine. All the system complexity and parallelism is hidden. Instead, the customer uses a declarative scripting language to author solutions.

When you put “Tiger”, “Cosmos” and “SCOPE” all together in the same picture, the Bing team aims to deliver “new system for web search backend that will be orders of magnitude larger and faster than anything that currently exists”. With all these investments into the Bing and other Online Services platforms (including adCenter and MSN), you wonder why the Online Services Division had been reporting such losses in its quarterly earnings report. Now the question is, will these investments realise the gains that Dr. Qi Lu and his team are hoping for?