If Trafficwatch NI crashes when the roads get busy, that suggests more resilient hosting is needed.Posted on 26 January 2017 -
Northern Ireland, and particularly Belfast, was plunged into traffic chaos yesterday evening after a fatal collision on the Westlink, which is the main route out of Belfast for anyone travelling to the west or south of the city.
With the Westlink closed and traffic at a standstill, many motorists stuck on the road, as well as those still at home or work and planning an imminent journey, sought information from Trafficwatch NI, the Department for Infrastructure’s traffic news portal.
But there was no information to be found because the website had crashed under the weight of demand. Such high levels of traffic - in every sense - seemed to push the Trafficwatch NI website beyond its capacity and render it unavailable to those wishing to use it.
The problem shows the importance of resilient hosting and thorough testing to check and maintain that resilience. It’s all well and good to have a website that can cope with a steady stream of traffic on a day-to-day basis, but that’s pointless if the hosting arrangements are not up to the task in a situation when the service is urgently needed.
We’ve written about this in relation to energy businesses. In that sector, the average level of daily traffic is minuscule when compared to the demand in the case of a power cut or damage to infrastructure. One of our clients in the energy sector is NIE Networks and our case study on them details the level of testing we perform to replicate the conditions its website might face on the busiest of days, when tens or hundreds of thousands of householders might flock to the website.
Trafficwatch NI’s website would benefit from similar resilience testing to ensure that it remains available when there is chaos on the roads and people most need information from it.
Emma Duggan, Web Manager, NIE NetworksRead full case study