Tag Archives: cloud

Stop press: Seetickets website can’t cope with Glasto traffic

I – like millions of others – tried to get Glastonbury 2011 tickets yesterday.

I was there online in the morning waiting feverishly. I had registered ages ago, so I had all my details ready. I tried the website – crashed. I tried the booking phone number – no answer.

I repeated the above. I gave up. I tried again later, constantly hitting refresh on my browser and redial on my phone. But nothing worked.

Then, later in the day, I saw that all the tickets had sold out in a few hours – as expected.

What annoys me is that Seetickets, the agency that sells the tickets on behalf of the Glastonbury festival organisers, don’t make any provision for their phone lines or website to actually work on the day when the tickets are released… why don’t they strike a deal with a major IT supplier like IBM for example and ask them to make sure the website can take millions of hits per hour?

At least if the website worked then all of us who were sitting there and waiting to login could actually do so. It’s not hard to buy a bit of extra computing power when it is needed for just one day of the year – it’s called utility computing, or even the cloud if you prefer that term…

So now, I’m waiting for returns. Though I know the website will collapse again when the returns are announced. It’s worth a try, Maybe next time I might get lucky and find a connection…

CSS at the Shepherd's Bush Empire

Ash disruption to last for a generation?

When the unpronounceable volcano in Iceland erupted and caused air travel chaos a few weeks ago the reporting of the chaos was presented as if it is a story that will literally blow over.

Aviation expert David Learmount yesterday reminded BBC viewers that this might change air travel for a generation.

Nobody can predict when this – or other – volcanos will stop pumping ash into the sky so there are only a couple of realistic long-term solutions:

1. Build engines that can fly though the ash without any danger to the aircraft

2. Build better real-time warning systems so pilots don’t need to cancel flights, they can take evasive action to go above, below, or around a dangerous ash cloud

Today we aren’t in a position where either is feasible, and the second option looks more feasible than the first. So we might face years of ash chaos and uncertainty now, until the boffins produce a system that can model an immense area of our atmosphere in real-time.

Don’t forget, a regular airliner can cruise along at more than 20km a minute… so even 10 minutes of cruising can cover 200km. Now imagine multiplying distance east-west with north-south and depth to an altitude of about 13,000 metres.

This is a problem that’s not going to be solved anytime soon.

Planes over Ealing (3 planes heading west))

Is everything going to be nationalised?

The present crisis in Europe over the ash cloud from Iceland is fast moving beyond a joke. Of course, it’s no joke for the thousands of people struggling to get home and stranded all over Europe, but what will happen to the airlines?

BBC Business editor Robert Peston has estimated that BA alone is losing something like £20m a day. And as each day passes, the EU warning is extended to the following day. I’m supposed to be visiting Austria this weekend and it seriously looks like it won’t happen. Of course, I’m not choked about it because I am at least at home and able to just stay home rather than being stranded thousands of miles from home. But how long will this go on?

And what is the implication for the national air carriers if they need governments to bail them out? First the banks, then the airlines? The question will be asked that if the airlines are so essential to national economies then how come they are not already government owned – like the old days?

Who would have thought that in 2010 we would see nationalised banks on the high street and private airlines all over Europe begging to be saved by national governments. Next thing, the private power companies will ask for government help setting up new power stations, err…