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back to article UCAS website collapses - on results day

'A' level students looking to find a university place through the UCAS website had better get on the phone instead - the organisation has shut down its own website. Despite widespread predictions that this year would be a particularly busy clearing process, UCAS (Universities & Colleges Admissions Service) has been caught on the …

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Slightly harsh

The quote about UCAS being in a good position to predict the traffic seems slightly harsh.

Predications aren't exactly easy to make, presumably student numbers are pretty similar to last year yet the quote from UCAS says they are getting 4x the peak load - would they have been able to predict that? Double maybe, but 4 times?

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Not hard to see

I don't know exactly how much information UCAS have access to, but they probably know which A levels people are taking, which courses they have applied for, and what offers they received.

Presumably they also knew in advance what grades everyone got.

So they could have known last week exactly how many people failed to secure a place.

A week isn't long. But surely some trends must have been visible for months - more applicants (less people taking a gap year because of the fee increase next year), people applying for more substantial courses which might actually lead to a job (but more difficult to get the grades), etc.

Were all these factors static and the extra traffic came as a bolt out of the blue?

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Anonymous Coward

Quote of the day:

> Michael Allen, Director of Application Performance Management Solutions at Compuware said: “In this day and age, there’s no reason why increased traffic should cause a website to crash."

Michael Allen, Director of Hasn't Got a F***ing Clue About the Realities of Running a Website

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FAIL

Maybe I'm missing something

but surely if anything is "crashing", rather than just unavailable due to the number of connections, then its buggy & needs fixing. I don't run webservers, so I don't know - maybe they do crash at the drop of a web connection. But all media outlets *always* state, without exception, that so-and-so's site has "crashed" when its unavailable. Sounds like unmitigated shite to me.

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Silver badge
FAIL

@AC

You might want to look at Compuware's selection of APM products before announcing that you don't know jack shit about the market, perhaps?

GJC

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Umm

"no reason why increased traffic should cause a website to crash"

I can think of many. Money, time, resource coming to mind before incompetence. Too much benefit of the doubt ?

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Headmaster

Don't know why they're rushing for

everyone passes these day don't they?

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Silver badge
FAIL

You obviously don't know what UCAS is for.

See title.

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Ru
Boffin

It is very important to know

whether you got 4As, 4A*s, or 4A**s, as this can seriously affect your choice of university.

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Joke

Clearing......

"Importantly for applicants, the ability to choose a Clearing place will not be impacted, and this function will open late afternoon as planned."

Should read

"Importantly for applicants, the ability to choose a Clearing place will not be impacted, and this function will crash later this afternoon as planned."

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Pirate

Anonymous Kiddies

I wonder how many of the Anonymous kiddies are now panicing that they wont be able to goto uni! Oh Noes! Denial of Service!

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Black Helicopters

I was wondering....

...if this isn't a preventative measure?

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DDoS!

I hope the police will be tracking down and arresting all those nasty evil hackery type students for participating in a DDoS attack!

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Facepalm

Disaster Recovery Plan

Obviously their Disaster Recovery Plan worked well.

'Pull plug and wait for everything to calm down'

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Not that simple.

I believe the full plan reads:

"Turn off switches, hide under desk until tomorrow"

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Happy

Don't laugh

Hey don't laugh, that's how most UK Gov DR scenarios are set up!

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4x load?

Well, there's someone bleating on the Guardian forums that they can't get through even though they've had all 4 members of their family on different computers trying to connect all morning!

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FAIL

Same thing as happened in Norway

Why won't they ever learn

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Education?

They're in the business of teaching, not learning - thats the students job.

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Angel

cloud

Need to serve simple database content to very bursty levels of users? Sorry for the buzzword, but this should've been a prime candidate for hosting "in the cloud".

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8olloux

Examples of the cloud going down are on this site regularly.

Ohh the cloud will cure all ills until the internet connect between you and cloud goes and then you are stuck with your thumb up your..... cloud.

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Why the downvote?

No sure why your post got downvoted. Hosting on Amazon or something elastically scalable is exactly what UCAS needs to be. Unfortunately this would mean rewriting a lot of their applications. (Although that is something that should be done anyway!)

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rewrite applications?

Unthinkable! according to my customers , hence i look after 500+ Win2k machines that cant have OS upgraded, only have LJ4 print driver installed , require lpt1 "capturing" , and applications that fall over and have to be "unlocked" if there is a millisecond lapse of network connectivity.

All development and coders left years ago.

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Re: 8olloux

I think if the internet connection between you and "duh internet" was down, you'd have problems accessing UCAS's normal website as well...

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Paris Hilton

Unexpected load?

Who'd of thought, with university places costing 3 times less this year than next year that people might try to get one while they can still afford one.

Paris for this one, because even she could have seen this comming.

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Who could have predicted such massive traffic?

Well, I for one, would have been more impressed with all these declarations of how easy it was to predict UCAS outages if this article had appeared yesterday rather than with the benefit of hindsight.

Would those commentards that successfully maintain a website that gets hammered one day a year without bankrupting their organisation with excess kit/service charges care to step forward and reveal how they do it?

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