So.... ACA server issues.

I know it's pretty standard for people to rail about whatever part of ACA or "Obamacare" that they can get their hands on, and the connection issues have been handy, but for people who are more aware of server issues than your average citizen... isn't this something we all could see coming?

I mean, of course ACA had server issues. It's a system that is designed for a progressive log-in system, IE, people who need healthcare log on and buy it. But with the law stepping in, there was a massive draw on resources all at once, not only from all the people who need it but from countless others who are just curious and want to see what will happen. (And I shudder to think of all the web pranksters for whom ACA is a target simply too large to ignore.)

I will admit that I am not a sorcerer of the strange voodoo that makes servers run, but by my understanding of the situation, if the ACA servers HAD been able to handle the original strain, it would have been flat out surprising, and perhaps worrying. I mean, a set of servers that could handle that kind of load will be unnecessary fairly quickly... it might almost be seen as waste, right? Not to mention that if software companies still have issues with opening launches for games (which are not legally mandated, though I hear they are considering a bill to mandate Call of Duty) what chance did the Healthcare servers have?

So, dropping, for now, the politics surrounding ACA, technically speaking, shouldn't an opening like this be, well, sort of expected?

Not to mention health and health insurance administration is notoriously bad and outdated in the country to begin with, so creating a system that tries to patch all those different data sources and companies and state records together into one congruent national shopping place was a nightmare in the making in and of itself. So yeah, expecting there not to be problems in such a system with such a massive scale of information and varying and incompatible storage systems of said information is pretty unrealistic.

No. Stop making excuses.

I would support universal healthcare in a second IF I believe that my government can do so in an efficient and competent manner (which I would like to hope is a reasonable demand). What more proof do you need than these server issues? This was the easiest step and something that the government has quite a bit of experience with, and the government screwed it up beyond even the right wing nuts wildest dreams.

For #$%^ sake the government got PRISM off the ground which allows to them electronically snoop on darn near anyone, but this website is beyond their capability?

World of Warcraft does a better job with websites and server issues, and its a pretty sad state of affairs when Activision is more competent than the US government.

What excuse are you talking about, other than "new online systems ALWAYS need help?"

Your claim that the government has quite a bit of experience in creating this sort of system is puzzling. What experience, exactly, do they have? And are you really unaware of the difference between an online snooping program, and a massive user database? It's apples and oranges. (Even if the apples are communist apples.)

World of Warcraft runs great now (most of the time, anyway) but they're not getting spammed by millions of new users all at once, either. It's a technological issue, not an excuse, and certainly not a cautionary tale.

Ryotknife:
No. Stop making excuses.

I would support universal healthcare in a second IF I believe that my government can do so in an efficient and competent manner (which I would like to hope is a reasonable demand). What more proof do you need than these server issues? This was the easiest step and something that the government has quite a bit of experience with, and the government screwed it up beyond even the right wing nuts wildest dreams.

For #$%^ sake the government got PRISM off the ground which allows to them electronically snoop on darn near anyone, but this website is beyond their capability?

World of Warcraft does a better job with websites and server issues, and its a pretty sad state of affairs when Activision is more competent than the US government.

World of Warcraft runs more users on a daily basis than the ACA website does. The government knows how many people are without insurance, therefore they know the theoretical maximum load they should handle. The website couldn't handle a mere FRACTION of that load. Its been a MONTH, and its still not fixed.

Are you seriously trying to excuse the government from doing something that a VIDEO GAME COMPANY CAN DO IN THEIR SLEEP?

Keep in mind im not a right winger. Im an (American) moderate left, which I suppose by European standards makes me a fascist.

That last part was a joke.

To answer your question though, should something like what happened to ACA to be expected? Yes, because the government is incompetent. I will admit that even with my low opinion of the government, never did I think that would screw up THIS badly. I expected a bad launch day, not a bad launch MONTH.

You think the reaction to ACA being down for a month is bad? See what happens when WoW goes down for a half a day.

If you put something out that was expected to be used, the expectation is that it will be capable of being used in the way it was expected. If the government didn't have enough servers to handle the load, well, that's problematic. These things require proper planning and execution to go well, and it was clear that wasn't really done here.

You mention software companies having problems with retail servers and you're right, most do. Some don't, however. Both WoW and Starcraft 2 have had relatively great launches (expansions in wow's case), and so we know that it's at least possible to launch right. Consider as well how quickly launches tend to fix themselves, and compare that to the ACA's website.

Lastly, this is a site that's there to help stop you from losing 1% of your income (and that's the cheap fine, it's only going to go up!). This is not a game where if it's not up on week 1 you'll lose out on not getting to play your fancy new game early.

So no, I didn't really expect that it would happen because of inevitable tech problems. I did expect it to happen though because of how incompetent the entire government has been the last 10 years or so.

The launch of ACA has been absolutely pathetic start to finish. The company they hired to build the website (not even an American company, btw) was fired TWICE by the Canadian government. They spent between $360-$600 MILLION of tax payer monies to get this thing off the ground and, upon its launch, the site needed to have 5 MILLION lines of code rewritten.

There was practically no testing, no server stressing, no soft launching; NOTHING that even a barely competent company would think to do to ensure a smooth activation and certainly nothing to justify the hundreds of millions of dollars spent -rather, WASTED- on a site built with the digital equivalent of Popsicle sticks and Scotch tape.

If this is the sort of...'pride' the government thinks such landmark -economy altering- legislation is worth...God help us.

Ryotknife:
World of Warcraft runs more users on a daily basis than the ACA website does. The government knows how many people are without insurance, therefore they know the theoretical maximum load they should handle. The website couldn't handle a mere FRACTION of that load. Its been a MONTH, and its still not fixed.

Are you seriously trying to excuse the government from doing something that a VIDEO GAME COMPANY CAN DO IN THEIR SLEEP?

Keep in mind im not a right winger. Im an (American) moderate left, which I suppose by European standards makes me a fascist.

That last part was a joke.

You've never tried to log on to WoW during the release of a new expansion pack, have you? Or perhaps when Diablo 3 was released?
Servers can't handle the load, long queues on servers, disconnects and so on. This creates a pretty bad experience for everyone for at least the first 2 weeks. Then the amount of concurrent users starts to fall, and it starts going smoothly. In fact, this is pretty common amongst online games.
Is it because developers underestimate the demand? Perhaps, but a much more likely explanation is that they just realize that all that extra server power they need during the initial rush will just be a waste of money a few weeks down the line.

Niflhel:

Ryotknife:
World of Warcraft runs more users on a daily basis than the ACA website does. The government knows how many people are without insurance, therefore they know the theoretical maximum load they should handle. The website couldn't handle a mere FRACTION of that load. Its been a MONTH, and its still not fixed.

Are you seriously trying to excuse the government from doing something that a VIDEO GAME COMPANY CAN DO IN THEIR SLEEP?

Keep in mind im not a right winger. Im an (American) moderate left, which I suppose by European standards makes me a fascist.

That last part was a joke.

You've never tried to log on to WoW during the release of a new expansion pack, have you? Or perhaps when Diablo 3 was released?
Servers can't handle the load, long queues on servers, disconnects and so on. This creates a pretty bad experience for everyone for at least the first 2 weeks. Then the amount of concurrent users starts to fall, and it starts going smoothly. In fact, this is pretty common amongst online games.
Is it because developers underestimate the demand? Perhaps, but a much more likely explanation is that they just realize that all that extra server power they need during the initial rush will just be a waste of money a few weeks down the line.

Ive logged onto every expansion other than Mists, and I was playing on the first day of the expansions. The biggest problem usually was the large queue times, or the starting areas being overcrowded.

However, I can not for the life of me remember when an entire expansion was down for a month....

hmmm

Yes it was predictable. I said that there would be online problems the second I heard that the program would be rolled out all at once and it would all be online. Yet when I said that on this site people insulted me and said that I was just making excuses. Oh well. Rush, rush, rush. Never take the time to do something slowly and correctly. But what the fuck do I know

Am I the only one making the connection between the ACA Website issues and the MASSIVE government shutdown that happened around the same time?

Where nearly a million government workers, possibly including Web Authors and Server Managers, were furloughed and couldn't work? If I remember, the Shutdown occurred from Sep 30 to Oct 17 while the site was Launched in Oct 1.

Even if the site was buggy, stopping the people who might be able to improve it wouldn't exactly help.

Niflhel:

You've never tried to log on to WoW during the release of a new expansion pack, have you? Or perhaps when Diablo 3 was released?
Servers can't handle the load, long queues on servers, disconnects and so on. This creates a pretty bad experience for everyone for at least the first 2 weeks. Then the amount of concurrent users starts to fall, and it starts going smoothly. In fact, this is pretty common amongst online games.
Is it because developers underestimate the demand? Perhaps, but a much more likely explanation is that they just realize that all that extra server power they need during the initial rush will just be a waste of money a few weeks down the line.

The WoW servers I found handled themselves very well. Some servers had large queue problems, but that's not something against wow per-say. I'd consider it a much better solution than having the server frequently crash though.

Diablo 3 was awful though. Though after reading about the development process it went through, I can't say that the huge problems the launch went through were that unlikely.

But, we know that these things aren't guaranteed. IIRC, the Rift launch went very well overall as well. These things aren't guaranteed to fail. Having the ACA website fail so badly is a huge embarrassment.

Diablo1099:
Am I the only one making the connection between the ACA Website issues and the MASSIVE government shutdown that happened around the same time?

Where nearly a million government workers, possibly including Web Authors and Server Managers, were furloughed and couldn't work? If I remember, the Shutdown occurred from Sep 30 to Oct 17 while the site was Launched in Oct 1.

Even if the site was buggy, stopping the people who might be able to improve it wouldn't exactly help.

Software work is done beforehand. Anything after the launch should be considered damage control.

When working with such a hard deadline, the site needed to be done well before it launched, if possible, to give the team plenty of time to test and fix bugs. They clearly failed at this part.

Ryotknife:
No. Stop making excuses.

I would support universal healthcare in a second IF I believe that my government can do so in an efficient and competent manner (which I would like to hope is a reasonable demand). What more proof do you need than these server issues? This was the easiest step and something that the government has quite a bit of experience with, and the government screwed it up beyond even the right wing nuts wildest dreams.

For #$%^ sake the government got PRISM off the ground which allows to them electronically snoop on darn near anyone, but this website is beyond their capability?

World of Warcraft does a better job with websites and server issues, and its a pretty sad state of affairs when Activision is more competent than the US government.

The issue amounts to this -- let's say that you have a system you expect to get, for the sake of argument, 1k hits / hour. Except for the first week after you start it running, during which you'll have 1M hits / hour.

How much capacity do you budget for, because more bandwidth and more servers cost money, and most of those are going to be either purchased or on year+ leases. Budgeting for 1M hits/hour is 1000x what you actually expect to need after the initial rush, and is incredibly wasteful (and we'd be talking about how wasteful government IT is if they did that instead, and we all know this), it would also still be insufficient during the worst times. A realistic option is to guesstimate how much variance you'll see once the initial rush is over, and budget based on that, because that 1k hits / hour is in no way going to be a constant trickle, but rather spiky at inconvenient times (which means having the capacity for a "typical" spike).

Activision has had the benefit of knowing what kind of crowd to expect and rolling out the extra capacity for that time, because they can more easily re-purpose the extra capacity elsewhere afterward (I imagine repurposing Obamacare machines would be a nightmare between government bureaucracy and HIPPA). In comparison, back before they had such insight in what kind of capacity to need, WoW launch wasn't exactly completely smooth, and a lot of servers were basically choked when TBC released (likely because they weren't expecting as many returning players as they got -- the chat servers lagged upwards of a minute behind, your character could become unplayable because the server was taking minutes to respond with what loot things dropped, lengthy queues to even login to that mess, etc, etc, etc -- it wasn't pretty on Eonar at TBC launch).

Actual single-payer style universal healthcare would likely be *simpler* from a government IT perspective, since it mostly wouldn't be a public facing system (especially given that it would basically involve scaling up the existing medicare system).

 

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