Government IT projects

Sigh.

The world\’s first government-run swine flu diagnosis website could not cope with the volume of traffic when it opened for business at 3pm today. Designed to handle 1,200 hits a second, the service was suspended just four minutes later when 2,600 people tried to access it every second.

Face/ Palm.

7 thoughts on “Government IT projects”

  1. I work with a number of customers who constantly dwarf this number of hits/second (by one, two and occasionally even THREE orders of magnitude) and they manage this without expensive consultants using mostly commodity, off-the-shelf hardware.

    Government IT really should be taken outside and lined up against a wall. There is no excuse for this kind of failure.

  2. However, I am impressed with their advertising campaign: “You are going to DIE unless you have Tamiflu. Visit our website to get it FREE before it is all GONE!”

  3. What Obo Says.

    I’ve had a look at the site and it’s built in asp.net, Microsoft’s server technology. Something I make most of my income from. And scaling asp.net to have multiple load balanced servers is trivial. It’s designed into the technology to be done easily. So it looks like someone didn’t do their estimating right.

    Also, maybe they should have hired someone to do it who understood where and when you use the secure https protocol. https is very useful when people are recording sensitive information, but you don’t need it on introduction/FAQ pages or logo images.

    https adds to server load in having to do page encryption and with some browsers, you lose the caching of images, so the browser will fetch it twice.

  4. They only allowed for their estimate being out by a factor of two?

    Cripes.

    But then, now I come to think of it, these are the same people who are doing the budgetting for the Olympics, aren’t they?

    We are probably doomed.

  5. Don’t worry folks, they are setting up telephone call centres instead.

    They are busily recruiting people who don’t speak English and don’t know anything about flu.

    What could possibly go wrong?

  6. For some reason, I’m reminded of the popular-among-the-right project of setting up an enormous government IT portal to advertise all public sector job vacancies. That’ll go well, f’sho’.

  7. Actually John, that’s sound like a cracking idea.
    If too many people try to apply, you cut down on the number of actual applications you have to process. That’s a good thing.

    Secondly, the people who get through will be the ones who are really persistent: you get rid of the timewasters. That’s a good thing too.

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