Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), Australia’s national statistical agency, recently experienced a Census server fail, and the incident set the internet on fire. The Australian census is the largest collection of statistical information on Australia’s population. “Every five years, the ABS counts every person in every household, as well as those without homes, or not at home on census night.” ~ The Guardian.
In today’s real-time world, for better and for worse, consequences of technology are immediately apparent. The agency claimed that the crash was the result of a combination of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack, as well as its geo-blocking failure. The ABS had to deliver an apology and has since avoided clearly explaining what actually went wrong. What is clear, however, is that the census servers just could not handle the load.
A majority of Australians lost impression on the agency post this event due many reasons, some of which are mentioned below:
- There was quite a bit of marketing about the vitality of the census form-filling
- There was very limited time that was given where the forms could be submitted online
- Everyone was informed that the form-filling was mandatory and those who did not fill out the form were to pay a fine
When the time came, most of Australia witnessed the mixture of horror for, and a mockery of, the ABS. People received notifications from the website saying that the content was temporarily unavailable. All of this led to people’s faith on the government to plummet even further. Many were frustrated because they claimed that the government easily had most of their data, and that it should have been spending its resources on retrieving necessary data, rather than asking everyone to submit all the required details through forms.
IBM was awarded a $9.6 million contract to support the project and has now suffered a reputation loss, due to the project’s massive fail. Instead of providing sufficient time spanning across a week or two, users were only given the night of August 9, 2016. With an estimated 16 million filling out the survey, naturally the load was expected to be massive on the servers. The threat of a false-positive DDoS attack and failure of geo-blocking resulted in the failing of the router, due to which IBM pulled down the website in order to protect the data.
How can a Robust Performance Engineering Framework (Load & Stress Testing) help?
Assurance of scalability of volume is vital for cases such as the Australian census. The DDoS attacks, especially volumetric attacks, enter the network with high bandwidth, which demands an adequate processing power. Software performance engineering aids in a cost-effect software development through a systematic and quantitative approach. It uses quantitative methods that determine how satisfactory the system design actually is. Organizations today are increasingly aware of the weight that load and stress testing hold. They ensure that test data is subjected to various scenarios before the launching of a product. With the extensive use of mobile phones, users constantly download and install applications and their corresponding updates. Performance testing is proving to be crucial in every away.
Performance testing demands extensive expertise in high volume transaction systems, databases and related technologies. This can be effectively achieved through performance architects and analysts. Performance testing also ensures the provision of full-cycle performance engineering services. Through these services, proprietary frameworks can be built in order to accelerate the testing process that helps optimize it further. The framework allows the performance tools to be customized in a way that enables them to be used for the stress and load testing of applications of varying architecture.
Cigniti Technologies, an independent testing organization, recognizes the importance of providing an entire range of performance testing solutions to its customers, using frameworks that were designed after several years of extensive research by its most experienced testers.
For more information about Cigniti’s performance testing services and performance engineering practices, please visit http://www.cigniti.com/performance-testing.