Tickets sales for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing have been suspended for a week after it crashed under the weight of Chinese sport fans eager to grab tickets for the event.
The plan was to sell the seven million tickets to the Olympics over three phases. The first phase - in which a lottery was held for the first 1.6 million tickets went smoothly enough. The second phase, in which 1.8 million tickets are offered on a first-come, first-served basis resulted in the crash - and chaos.
"Because of the overwhelming volume of page visits, the technical system was unable to perform the tasks well enough, and many applicants were unable to successfully submit their applications," the [Beijing Olympic] committee said.
The ticketing database could supposedly process 150,000 transactions an hour, but in just the first hour, the Games' site had 8 million hits, its hotline had 3.8 million calls, and 200,000 orders were taken from customers.
The organising committee has made a humiliating public apology for the inconvenience caused by its underestimation of demand. The public was not so easily appeased though and Internet chat rooms boiled with rage, with some calling for the resignation of the entire ticketing committee.
Ticket sales will resume on Monday to allow time for Ticketmaster - who hosted the site, to work out a robust solution to the deluge.
Do you have experience provisioning for giant-scale Web farms? Is it even possible to reliably gauge Web traffic?
Paul Mah is a writer and blogger who lives in Singapore, where he has worked for a number of years in various capacities within the IT industry. Paul enjoys tinkering with tech gadgets, smartphones, and networking devices.