Delays with National Registration and Inquiry System

Delays are being reported with the National Registration and Inquiry System due to high demand with the floods in Queensland and Victoria. The system is provided by Emergency Management Australia and the Red Cross to help people find family and friends in a disaster. The system allows for registration and search for people via web forms. I noticed some difficulties with the design of the web

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Allen Sheaprd


(sigh) Ever hear someone say “It ran fast when we only had five users on the system?”

My knee jerk reaction is – great time to add more memory and spread out the disk I/O. Even with a virtual machine this is not alway easy. Its very hard with a server.

Sadly there can even bee resistance to running performance monitor for CPU, network, Disk (physical and split I/O) and memory usage. Now *is* the time while the system has a *real* load on it. Not some test load that may or may not represent actual need or usage.

This blog may fit in the Disaster recovery group. Why? Not all recovry scenarios are “fair weather” ones. To recover a city’s IT at another location due to a hurricane means they system will be stressed.

Tom Worthington

Allen Sheaprd commented:

My knee jerk reaction is – great time to add more memory and spread out the disk I/O. …

That is a common reaction when an application is slow. But with web based ones it may not work. The problem is the scale of the application. With something in the office, you might have ten or a hundred times more users, than expected. But in the Internet you may a million times more than you can cope with.

So before rushing to add more resources, I suggest checking that the applciation uses the features which have been built into the web to make it scale. Ensure that the content can be cached, so you do not keep sending out copies of the same thing. Don’t encrypt content which is not sensitive. Use the built in web formats, rather than adding a whole lot of extra “window dressing”.