Swine flu website crashes on launch

Anxious Britons swamp pandemic flu site with 9.3 million hits per hour

The government's national pandemic flu website, hosted by BT, crashed within four minutes of going live yesterday.

The problem came in spite of prior assertions by the government that the site would be thoroughly tested, and that any glitches would be viewed as "outrageous".

Paul Jones, chief technology officer at the NHS, told Computerworld UK the site runs on a "standard web solution" based around Microsoft web systems and a Microsoft SQL2005 database.

The system runs on HP blades, he said, adding that "additional capacity was provided by adding ... web and database servers to the clusters", as well as improving virtualisation levels on existing servers. BT referred all queries to the DH.

The site shows people information about swine flu, and has a series of questions to enable them to diagnose themselves.

When it went live at 3pm yesterday (Thursday), some 2,600 people tried to access it every second. The site was built to handle 1,200 hits per second. For several hours the site either did not operate at all, or refused to allow some visitors onto the pages.

At 5.30 pm, BT quadrupled the website's capacity, and the website is understood to have worked successfully since then.

A spokesperson at the Department of Health said the site "did not crash" completely. "It experienced unprecedented demand when it went live with 2,600 hits per second, equivalent to 9.3 million hits per hour," the spokesperson said.

The news follows assertions by health minister Andy Burnham that the website would be properly tested before its launch. On Monday he told MPs: "I can confirm ... that the service will go live in England by the end of this week, subject to testing. ... After the launch, people will no longer need to ring their GP."

He continued: "I am sure that if there were any problems or glitches, members of all parties would not hesitate to say that it was outrageous and would criticise us for launching a service that had not been properly tested."

Professor Steve Field, chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners, told the Guardian the most important thing is that "patient safety ... is not at risk" as a result of the problems.

Join the newsletter!

Or
Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Leo King

Unknown Publication
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?