Server Downtime == Police Baricades and Angry World Series Fans

Paciolan is managing ticket sales for the Colorado Rockies. Their servers were hit with over 1500 requests per second and it took down not only the Rockies ticket sales infrastructure, but all Paciolans other customers too.

They claim to have been hit by a DDoS attack, but that’s something that’s hard to prove or disprove when you have corporate firewalls and AOL firewalls sending many requests from a single IP – it looks just like a DDoS attack but it actually isn’t.

Is 1500 requests per second a lot? No. Feedjit (my site) peaks at 140 requests per second and it does it with just two servers – and the data it’s serving is dynamic.

So a cluster of 10 to 30 servers should easily handle the load they’ve described – especially if all it’s doing is queueing visitors and only letting a handful through, which is what Paciolan’s ticketing software does.

The result? Police are erecting barricades around Coors Field. Here’s a quote from cNet:

“…many fans are apparently converging near Coors Field in hopes that the team will sell tickets in person through the box office; so many in fact that the police have closed streets around the ballpark and are erecting barricades, the paper reported.”

Ticketmaster is trying to buy Paciolan – the deal is currently under government review. Ticketmaster runs Mod_Perl (and so does Feedjit) and some very smart people who know a lot about scalability (and who I used to work with) work for Ticketmaster. So hopefully the deal will go through and mod_perl will come to the rescue.

btw, I’m doing a short talk in 2 days on how to scale your web servers fast based on my experience scaling Feedjit.