O Day


Zero day exploits are written about all of the time – there are 2.93 million hits on google for “zero day” and 314,000 for zero+day+exploit. Saturday of this weekend was the UK’s first O day (and the ones exploited were early iPhone adopters):

O2’s servers fell over under the load of iPhone 3G activation. An eminently predictable event – one that should have seen months of planning – resulted in a Black Swan day for O2. The probability of high take up of the new iPhone was known, but the consequences were not well predicted. Nassim Nicholas Taleb can add this case study to his next book. O2 can perhaps be known just as “O” for the next few days.

Oyster cards across London fell into disuse as the central unit that operates them fell over. I had no idea these were run by some central server – I always figured that the card only talked to the local reader during the transaction and that perhaps there was some kind of bulk upload of transactions periodically or even once a day. Every system has a bad day – and Oyster’s seem few and far between – but for a multi-hour outage to occur? (Don’t worry folks, David Frost would have been unaffected – Freedom passes are still paper-based)

Olympics organisers had better watch out. These are good examples of how not to demonstrate the capability of our infrastructure to respond to high load events.

4 thoughts on “O Day

  1. Buy for peak or root mean square? Is it worth paying for a short peak or taking the hit? Brand versus cash decision perhaps.Thank god David Frost was ok, he would find it very confusing to be left standing at the gate in a tube station without a despot to interview while he waited. A lot less people going to see the Olympics each day than say New Years Eve or Notting Hill Carnival. Where/when do you reckon the peakl demand will be?

  2. Hilary.Peak demand\’s going to be when everyone\’s running away from the explosionm into the path of the second one.Speaking of a zero day error, could Gordon\’s presidency be thus described? After all, he waited ten years for it, only for it to go tits up immediately.I

  3. Yeah but the runaway problem is true for any event yet the numbers greatly exceed the olympic crowd.People forget just how big some of our annual events are and get in a Y2K like hysteria about the Olympics.The number of daily ticket sales are spread over a wide geography of sites. Whereas the Notting Hill Crowd exceed 0.5M for example are gathered and are packed into one dense location. around Notting Hill.

Leave a Reply