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View Diary: Our networks don't always work so well (84 comments)

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  •  This is not complex system programming. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Notreadytobenice, jmnyc

    That's a pure myth. Let me give some background, we run an entire virtual world with user generated content being uploaded (the last stats I had were 11.9Mb per second for uploads onto our servers). We run close to 30 servers to handle assets (things you see in the world), the actual simulations (the actual world you log into), the individuals' inventory (the stuff each user has in their private inventory).

    That being said, we use the same technology that Twitter and Facebook use for data and data retrieval, Cassandra NoSQL, it's pretty painless, keeps high availability(which the government site obviously needs) and is fast.

    For this type of website, storage of emails, names, ssn's (which requires PCI compliance), addresses and then a breakout of what is available to them based on that information? That's light. Period. We're not talking a site that is feeding news or tweets or updates from your friends every second.

    The reasoning for this massive incompetence, from a perspective of someone who understands the workload, is beyond comprehension.

    There is also a thing called unit testing in software, and our devs employ that often. It basically means getting a few people to use, then examine the metrics, multiply it by intended load and calculate if the systems can handle it. This was obviously not done, although that was not the major reason for it's failure on rollout. THAT I would have expected, the garbage code is not what I would have expected.

    It is every person's obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of what they takes out of it. - Albert Einstein (edited for modern times to include everyone by me!)

    by LeftieIndie on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 08:28:04 PM PST

    •  Put you are interacting with legacy systems... (7+ / 0-)

      ...some of which are running code from the 1960's with hardware architectures to boot.  Interfacing with that kind of stuff is extremely difficult.  IBM never intended for JCL to interact with HTML.


      by LordMike on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 08:38:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly (3+ / 0-)
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        EastcoastChick, malharden, Kane in CA

        Very tired of hearing how easy this is when it is actually very complicated.

      •  Why would you even think (0+ / 0-)

        that you could run websites off 60's hardware? You can't, they can't even begin to comprehend js (which is a mainstay of the website, it's what makes it function so well). We're not talking the necessity of mainframes here, we're talking very simple webservers with a farm behind it that holds the data. This is not expensive (well, unless you are the government who has no need to really bid out work at the real cost companies pay out) stuff, it's relatively economical to be blunt. Our government is not as behind the times as one might think... proof positive with the NSA and it's abilities. I will also point out that the Social Security sites, which actually hold a whole lot more data than function quite well, and in fact with really minor issues, rolled out quite well.

        It is every person's obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of what they takes out of it. - Albert Einstein (edited for modern times to include everyone by me!)

        by LeftieIndie on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 09:55:46 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I disagree (8+ / 0-) is incredibly complex programming and system interface.  I will be the first to concede that the rollout on 10/1 was flawed, and continues to have flaws.  But I don't think that was necessarily the fault of the programming team.

      If you've ever been involved in a large scale technology implementation, you are well aware of the importance of engaging all stakeholders in mapping interfaces and the need for flawless interface with systems beyond your control.

      The integration rarely, rarely (if ever) happens on the day of 'go live'.  

      That's what the team is dealing with right now.

      You can bring in all the experts in the world to solve the problems, but if any one of the constellation of dependent system operators chooses (overtly or by sheer laziness) to be less than cooperative, the entire enterprise fails.

      In the "lessons learned" analysis of issues, I believe that more than a few bad actors will be identified who had a vested interest in seeing the project fail.

      UID: 14791 Join Date: 7/7/2004 Status: Lifetime member Mojo: nearly infinite Any questions?

      by Richard Cranium on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 08:49:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ain't going to happen. Nobody goes to jail... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Nobody gets fired. Past precedents.

        Very informative comment, Mr. Cranium.

      •  No it's not, in this case, the website is (0+ / 0-)

        actually taking your information, storing it, then giving you the best options for you to buy. Let's think here what it really does:

        1. Gets your name, address, email address, ssn, and income.
        2. Calculates whether or not you qualify for subsidy, which is done via javascript and anyone can see that by looking at the libraries the page is calling.
        3. Once it's figured out if you qualify or not, it then loads in the options of insurance you have and the subsidies which are already stored in the system, based on your zip code.

        That is the core front end, and where it failed at massively. People like myself, it failed on the email address storage, it failed on recalling who I was, failed on passwords. These are stupid mistakes, and was not due to overload on the systems.

        All the "beauty" of the interface is really done by javascript, we use it extensively in our website which makes life so much easier for the user, and for us to be blunt. And there's quite a few libraries they are using. And if anyone tries to tell me that they "wrote" their own JS libraries, I will call BS, because most of that is public domain that just needs refining.

        In other words, the contractor who did this, failed. Epic. Which should not be of any surprise given who the contractor was.

        It is every person's obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of what they takes out of it. - Albert Einstein (edited for modern times to include everyone by me!)

        by LeftieIndie on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 10:01:19 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  You had the luxury (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      malharden, Subterranean, elfling

      of designing a fairly complicated system from the ground up. Your databases were populated directly by users signing up, not from pre-existing databases. 90% of IT isn't like that; you're constrained by the existing systems that you have to build on.

      Creating a better mousetrap isn't all that hard when you get to change the specs for the mouse.

      Personally, as a physician, I would be very concerned at a child becoming febrile after having ingested bleach or had it shot up his rectum—Orac (Respectful Insolence)

      by ebohlman on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 11:54:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I bet you don't have many gamers running (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      XP and trying to connect with IE6. Of course this type of user also has two or three root kits installed to make it more interesting...

      •  It's a lot worse than that (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Andrew F Cockburn, malharden

        it's not connecting with IE6. It's more like connecting with DOS, except even worse. The questions for SS/Name verification? They come from the IRS. That's the only agency in the federal government that would have the info necessary to formulate those questions. The IRS system is ancient legacy. COBOL. And there are what? Like 7 still living COBOL programmers?

        •  I helped set up a web site for our university (0+ / 0-)

          several years ago. We didn't have any trouble with the students connecting, but the professors were terrible. Yes , we had some running DOS who didn't understand why we didn't support Mosaic. After all, if it was good enough to access their bank accounts and porn sites, why couldn't we support it?

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