Saturday, August 23, 2008

It's the PLANNING, Stupid!

The phrase "It's the ECONOMY, stupid!" helped boost Bill Clinton's election prospects in 1992. In 1999, when was having its "CNN moments" (as we called them, back then), I declared that capacity planning seemed to be an oxymoron for many pre-bubble-bursting web sites. They were prepared to throw any amount of money at lots of iron, which presumably meant they understood the "capacity" part (capital expenditure). It's the "planning" part they didn't grok. Planning means thinking ahead. Planning requires investment in the future. If the Financial Dept. can do it, why can't IT?

I thought this had all improved since 2001, but recently there have been a significant number of very public web-site embarrassments; ostensibly caused by capacity non-planning:
And the most recent casualty: Microsoft Photosynth. From the AP wire:
By JESSICA MINTZ , AP Technology Writer, Technology / Internet, Thu Aug 21, 2008 6:12 PM EDT (AP) -- Microsoft Corp.'s new digital photo sharing site spent most of its first day offline as its servers strained to handle a flood of traffic. The site, called Photosynth, stitches together a set of related digital photos into a presentation that allows viewers to zoom and pan across the scene. Microsoft employees and partners including National Geographic had been tinkering with a private beta version of the technology. Microsoft was set to open Photosynth to the public late Wednesday, but on Thursday morning the working site had already been replaced by a page that displayed an apology. On the Photosynth blog, a team member wrote that engineers were "hard at work adding capacity and getting the full site back online." At 1:50 p.m. Pacific, the blogger added that the site would be back up "shortly." During a preview of the final product on Tuesday, David Gedye, a group manager for Microsoft's Live Labs, said the team had been beating on the site to simulate the rush of new users expected after launch. But when asked, he sounded less than confident that the technology could withstand the pressure. "We're very nervous," he said during an interview.

Perhaps Microsoft hasn't understood the "capacity" part yet.

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