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World Series Ticket Sales Overwhelm Servers 86

vlakkies writes "The Colorado Rockies Major League Baseball team decided to only sell tickets for the World Series games at Coors Field online. As a result of overwhelming interest, the ticket vendor Paciolan experienced a system meltdown resulting in a suspension of all ticket sales."
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World Series Ticket Sales Overwhelm Servers

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  • The old story... (Score:4, Informative)

    by attemptedgoalie ( 634133 ) on Monday October 22, 2007 @06:02PM (#21078065) []

    Rockies spokesperson:

    "We are as frustrated and disappointed as (fans) are," Alves said.

    He said the servers were overwhelmed this morning and that officials had no idea that so many people would try the website.

    Yeah, who could have seen 30,000,000 people trying to buy tickets to the championship series of the only baseball team for nearly 1000 miles in any direction? Boston fans certainly wouldn't want those tickets either.

    They didn't put anything on their site for hours to let people know there had been a crash. Just a series of timeout errors.

    • by AuMatar ( 183847 ) on Monday October 22, 2007 @08:12PM (#21079423)
      Like most of the rest of the country, they figured baseball was too boring to pay to see.
      • Baseball isn't boring. It's a great sport where the team with the best performance enhancing drugs wins. What can be more American than that?

        Of course, this explains why I haven't watched it since the 80s. It's about as honest as boxing. Or maybe pro wrestling. Or voting in Chicago.
        • by AuMatar ( 183847 )
          Now now- pro wrestling doesn't pretend to be real anymore. So I'll put it higher than baseball.
        • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

          by rts008 ( 812749 )
          I think I get your point, but....

          *rant on!*
          Baseball is not boring? Watching baseball is as exciting as astronomers watching Earth's seasons change! WTF?!?!?
          It's like watching concrete set! Like watching Pro Golf!?!?!?

          Watching baseball, football. basketball. and golf are NO different than watching concrete set up, except for the flash of the visually stimulating uniforms involved. (which involve the cheerleader's skimpy outfits, anything else is homo erotic, but if that's your 'cup of tea'!)

          If you are TRULY
          • by Sanat ( 702 )
            Its like watching banana cream pie go bad.
          • Yeah, no kidding. Some of us in Northern CO were trying to get shit done at work, but our site could not get to our third party connections to retrieve data, thereby denying partial service. At least 911 isn't on the same circuit!

            And some of us don't really enjoy watching other people doing something entertaining ( is boring as hell, as you said) when we ourselves could be doing something more entertaining, interactive, and rewarding in the long term. Accomplish something for ourselv
          • I think I get your point, but....

            *rant on!*
            Baseball is not boring? Watching baseball is as exciting as astronomers watching Earth's seasons change! WTF?!?!?
            It's like watching concrete set! Like watching Pro Golf!?!?!?

            Like most things, watching something becomes much more interesting if you actually have or do participate in them.

            Saying XXX is boring is just stating your opinion. And opinions are like assholes, everyone has one and they all stink.

            I like most Steven Seagal movies because he is really good at his martial art's form, He is a master at his form, and as a student I pay attention. Venerate him? Hell, NO! As an actor he leaves a lot to be desired, but as a martial artist, he is at the top of his heap in that field.

            Perfect example of what I just wrote above. To most people, watching a Seagal movie is like putting cigars out in your eye sockets. But since you have experience in the martial arts world, you find pleasure in them because you watch his technique.

            Try not to be the arbiter o

    • by appleguru ( 1030562 ) on Monday October 22, 2007 @10:35PM (#21080465) Homepage Journal
      As a Boston native living and going to school in Colorado I was ecstatic when the sox beat the Indians last night... Figuring I'd have as good a shot as anyone at scoring some tickets to a game I brought my MacBook Pro to class and logged on at 9:45. I was greeted by their countdown page, which auto-reloaded every minute.

      Just seconds after 10AM mountain time, the site ( became completely unresponsive. After about an hour of reloading and fighting with the system, I finally got in. I was able to (excruciatingly slowly) pick seats and get to my shopping cart. After that they took me to a captcha (which didn't load), and following that to a registration page to take all my info and credit card number.

      Hitting submit on that page caused an hour long hang that eventually just kicked my back out to the waiting page. I had several family members across the country try to get in as well, all with no success.

      What's interesting though is it seems that evenue was using a load balancing system to automatically assign the end user to one of their servers...

      Over the course of trying to get tickets I was connected to,,,, and finally (the server that got me through),

      I'm willing to bet that their all on the same backbone connection though, and from the way things went I can't imagine it being any fatter than a 45mbps link.. then again, 8.5 million hits in an hour *is* a lot. In order to sustain that load from a single datacenter (not that they'd have to, but from the sounds of it they were; all their servers seem to be in the same datacenter in California) they'd need, oh, 8,500,000/60/60*56/1024 ~130Mb/s... which really isn't that much at all (that's assuming a 56kbps connection per person for a reasonable experience on the site).

      So what it really boils down to, then, is the inefficiency of their server code and the number of servers they have. From the failover numbers it looks like they only had ~20 servers handling this... And from the design of their site (Lots of java :/) it looks like each server couldn't handle more than a few simultaneous requests. This is likely why they have a "waiting" page in place (Ex: [] ), which appears to be served by independent servers... but if the behavior of my friends is any indication, every user looking to buy tickets had at LEAST 5 windows open at once trying to load the same page...

      In any case, the Rockies are new at this ;) Normal game tickets can be had for as little as $4/each during the regular season... and they haven't EVER been to the world series. They've made a hellof a lot of new fans seemingly overnight, and now everyone wants a piece of the action. Coors field, at least, is a good place to see it. It's a very well build stadium and their really isn't a bad seat in the house! (Unlike Fenway, where there are many. But I like Fenway better for other reasons :)). Ah well, wish me luck tomorrow, or whenever they decide to put the tickets on sale again on their new "fixed" yet exactly the same as before system...
      • I'm a lifetime BoSox fan that grew up in the Midwest. I've waited my whole life to see a BoSox World Series game in person. In '86 I was just a little kid. In '04, I was on my honeymoon cruise, which my wife was not going to let me bail on.

        Denver is only 6-7 hours away by car, and I was really excited about buying tickets, and then the site wouldn't work. Not only was the site completely overloaded (despite the site claiming it was invulnerable to such overloading by only letting in so much traffic at o
        • by stubear ( 130454 )
          That's OK, I'll watch it for you from my seats in section 38 :) I love having season tickets. With my ticket package, I might not get my regular seats in 40 a 7 rows behind the Red Sox bullpen but when they do get into the post season I at least get the option to purchase full ALDS/ALCS/WS ticket packages before the general public (oh, and I get options to purchase concert tickets early as well - saw the Stones, Buffet and The Police). 2004 was great but I'd like to see the win it at Fenway park this yea
          • Even though the Rockies are hot, I think we may sweep again.

            And I don't know why the media is debating what to do with Ortiz in the NL parks. Put him at 1st, put Yook at either 3rd or SS, and then bench Lugo. Lugo just stinks, and I can't imagine why we should start him in the infield while benching Yook.
            • Are you out of your mind? Youkilis has never played at shortstop in a professional capacity.

              Both Lowell and Youkilis are hitting considerably better than an injured Ortiz (who has said to the media that the cortisone shot in his knee is wearing off, and that he doesn't want another). Ortiz is 2 for 11 in the last three games. Youkilis just finished an ALCS where he hit .500 on the nose and Lowell is hitting about a hundred points higher than Ortiz, too.

              Unless Ortiz goes 4-for-4 in Game 1 or 2, he's riding t
              • I suggested benching Lugo, not Lowell or Youkilis. Lugo is batting .229, and made a senseless error in Game 7 to boot. I can't count the number of times Lugo has killed rallies, stranded runners, or went hitless this year.

                Ortiz is only one of the most clutch hitters in the playoffs, and even after "slumping" in the past three games, his playoff average for this year dropped to .387

                You're honestly suggesting benching a guy hitting .387 (and 3 HRs) in the playoffs, especially with his history? Pitchers are
                • Lowell has never played anywhere except third and is leading RBIs for the Sox. Youkilis has been perfect since moving from third to first and is hitting 500 post-season. It's tough to imagine moving either of these guys. I think Papi plays one inning in each NL game between pitchers and gets a rest.

                  Also, start Ellsbury. Crisp has hit the wall (heh).
                  • Lowell is not leading them in RBI's in the playoffs, and Lowell wouldn't be leading anyone in RBI's if guys like Ortiz and Manny weren't getting on base in front of him.

                    Ortiz is batting .387 in the playoffs, and he is one of the greatest clutch playoff hitters of all time.

                    It is insanity to bench him. Lugo is terrible, and you want to start Lugo while benching Ortiz?

                    Without Ortiz, we get swept in 2004. He is one of the single largest reasons these guys have a ring right now.
                    • How exactly do you bench Lugo without playing someone else in a position they've never played? In the World Series?

                      It doesn't work that way. These guys are professionals, but that doesn't mean they're supermen. (Except Pedroia. Little midget jumps buildings and hits with a Canseco swing.)
                    • We're not talking football here. The difference between Tackle and Wide Receiver is huge. You can't just switch between the two.

                      The difference between 1B and 3B isn't huge. And you're talking about asking a guy who has great athletic talent, and who is a good defensive player to shift from the in-field to the in-field.

                      By your logic, they should have benched A-Rod when they traded for him, because they already had Jeter, and A-Rod was also a SS. Except A-Rod was hands down the MVP of the league, but agai
                    • On the infield, playing 2B and playing SS are fairly closely related, and playing 1B and 3B are closely related.

                      Correct. But if you're benching Lugo, you have to move either Lowell or Youkilis to shortstop. How are you going to rationalize that? Shortstop and third/first base are completely different areas of play, and neither Lowell nor Youk are built for it. Both are too big, neither are fast enough. It'd be like having no-range Derek Jeter playing shortstop for the Sox, albeit with fewer self-congratulat
      • by cdh ( 6170 )
        I'm not sure why you make the comment about Java. Java has nothing to do with the slowness of something like this. A Java based server application would have no trouble handling this. The fact that their hardware and network may not be able to handle the onslaught has little to do with the back end language if things are configured correctly.

        Maybe if everybody didn't have 5 windows open (each probably trying multiple connections to separately load images and such) the servers could handle it. Maybe not, but
  • Like, No doy (Score:2, Informative)

    by MuckSavage ( 658302 )
    Seriously, when they made the announcement, we were like, are they kidding? They talked about how they could handle it. Lines opened at 10 am, at10:00:12, you couldn't access the site. I think they said they had sold about 400 tickets before the server exploded? Wow. First world series Colorado has ever seen. Thanks for making us look like assholes.
    • Thanks for making us look like assholes.

      Having seen plenty of Colorado drivers in my state, I already thought you guys were assholes.

      But, back on topic: I knew I didn't have a chance at buying world series tickets, nor the money to fly out, so I pretty much didn't try the site. I'd already accepted a TV world series just like every year before. But God I wish I'd been able to see the 2004 Series.

      Besides, if I am going to watch baseball in-person, I really prefer to watch minor-league games. They still p
    • First world series Colorado has ever seen. Thanks for making us look like assholes.
      Kobe doesn't play baseball.
  • by Otter ( 3800 ) on Monday October 22, 2007 @06:04PM (#21078089) Journal
    ...a pair of helicopters has been hovering over Fenway for the last few hours, I'm guessing to monitor the real world analog of a "system meltdown".
    • Funny.. thats what I saw earlier today while running in the area. Two helicopters just flying around Fenway... odd.
  • They should have used Bittorrent. Somehow.
    • Bittorrent really only works for sharing files.
      On the other hand, a Beowulf cluster* or Folding@Home-ish setup would have done the trick.

      *Feel free to begin imagining one...
  • ...OS were the servers running?
    • Re:What...OS (Score:5, Informative)

      by fhage ( 596871 ) on Monday October 22, 2007 @07:04PM (#21078749)
      Short Answer: AIX.

      Paciolan, Inc., a leading provider of online ticketing technology, has chosen IBM eServer(TM) p650 systems to increase ticket sale processing speed. Following completion of a thorough benchmark analysis, IBM has projected that Paciolan's clients will have the ability to process more than 100,000 tickets per hour.

      Channel 4 (CBS) in Denver has also had this to say: The Rockies did say it was blocking some IP addresses due to suspicious or malicious activity.

      100,000 tickets per hour is about 28 tickets per second. I'd imagine they got tens of thousands of hits in the first few seconds after they opened the sale.

      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Denver 9 news reports 8.5 million hits in the first 90 minutes. To make it simpler for the ones too lazy to do the math, that's 1574 hits a second.. Probably worse than any DOS attack they thought could happen.... They obviously failed to do proper availability and capacity management and deserve what they got. Hope the MLB and the Rockies sick it too them.
  • by dacarr ( 562277 ) on Monday October 22, 2007 @06:05PM (#21078115) Homepage Journal
    OK, the servers are supposed to melt down after the post on Slashdot.
  • by Volante3192 ( 953645 ) on Monday October 22, 2007 @06:06PM (#21078127)
    With all these one time, massive bandwidth incidents (In Rainbows earlier this month and now this) it seems to me it might make sense to rent out to Akamai (or maybe Google could pick up some petty cash), at least until the beginning demand slows down.

    Sure, wouldn't make sense after the initial week, but this is becoming a major joke lately. These places always seem to underestimate demand by a factor of, like, hundreds.
    • If you only have a certain number of tickets and all of them are going to be sold then what is the point in spending a big slice of additional money just to sell them a little bit faster? It'll only mean less profit.
      • Call me old fashioned, but I always figure a good customer service experience beats out a crappy one. And really, while not knowing pricing on Akamai, I doubt even a week would break the bank.
        • But Akamai is only good for content. You can't cache transactions. With that level of searching and writing going on, the databases are going to lock up. Akamai would not solve this.
  • by Joe The Dragon ( 967727 ) on Monday October 22, 2007 @06:07PM (#21078131)
    The ticket scalpers that have 4+ cable modems and a lot of pcs overloaded the system.
    • That's exactly what I was thinking. Looks like a game to get into, but it might be too late.
      • Frickin Hannah Montana tickets are being snapped up by professional scalpers within ten minutes of the lines opening. Arbitrage is cool, but in cases like these, I don't know... I mean, it's great if an artist sells out their venues, but I'm pretty sure it sucks if only 10% of the people manage to actually get a real ticket. Can you imagine Wembley stadium half empty for a Rolling Stones Concert? Or MSG 1/10 full for a Police concert? Kinda defeats the purpose of performing.
        • .. is to sell the tickets for their actual market value, removing the incentive to scalp.
          • ... and the only way to do this right is via an auction system. True. But at the same time, should only the wealthy be able to enjoy popular entertainment? Remember that even in a cynical, free-market, survival of the fittest society, bread and circus has an important function... pacify the masses that have nothing else to look forward too.
          • Or get the venue to scan both the ticket(s) and the credit card used to purchase them. (It says on the ticket if a credit card was used.) The venues don't want to hire more people or take the extra time to do this.
    • I wonder if you could rent part of the storm worm to buy up tickets for you.
  • What's the address for the ticket vendor? A nice Slashdotting or two should give them enough data to help discover the limitations of their server.

    More seriously, sounds like real demand. I know I'd love to see one of these games if I lived near Denver -- even if a it is a few hundred dollars. Teams don't get to the World Series that often unless they're NY.
  • Speaking of overload, in 2004, for the Cardinals/Red Sox series, I slept outside Busch Stadium with homeless people hired by the scalpers in 39 degree temperatures (I know, I know, up hill... both ways) and the only things that got overloaded there were the porta-potties.
    In 2006 for the Cardinals/Tigers World Series, they opted for the online lottery method. Somehow, I still felt shit on.
    • Be glad for the 39 degrees. Warm enough not to freeze anything, but cool enough to keep the homeless people's aromatic volatiles from evaporating.
  • Boo! Hiss!
  • by magarity ( 164372 ) on Monday October 22, 2007 @07:54PM (#21079281)
    There are hundreds of auctions on eBay under one seller yesterday before the tickets even went on sale promising that he could get them; now they're all removed. Did his plan to hammer the system fail because too many people were trying to buy or did 1 jackass would-be scalper bring the thing down?
  • wasn't this 100% predicted in the MLB article the said this was how they were going to sell it? I guess they didn't realize a lot of people had sick days to use in case they actually got a ticket.
  • ... will welcome our new Ticket Server Overload!
  • ya think there might be a reason why Ticketmaster charges those fees??
    • by merc ( 115854 )
      Yep, I agree. Having worked there a while back I can tell you this would never happen with Ticketmaster's systems. They probably have the most fault tolerant super computer cluster of ticketing systems ever made just for the purpose of ticketing alone. One thing that made a big impression on me is that for a company not specifically based in the tech field they're probably one of the most high tech places I've ever worked at. They have a mix of skillsets there from kernel hackers to network engineers t
  • They're now claiming that there was a malicious attack on the site, and sales will resume later. So, millions of computers attempted to connect to Paciolan's servers and that brought them down? I suppose it is possible that some type of DOS was launched to disrupt the sale, but I think it's also possible that a million people or so wanted to buy 60,000 available tickets.
  • Stupid baseball.

    Not only does it take up ridiculous amounts of time on Sportscenter that would be better served by talking about Football... now it has to ruin my weekend trip to Denver!

    I bought ballet tickets in Denver for my wife's birthday a couple of months ago, not recognizing that the world series might be in town the very same weekend... luckily I had enough forethought to also book the hotel room at the same time... or we'd be screwed right now! It's going to be an absolute zoo in downtown Denver t
    • (1) Park in free light rail parking [ Broadway station, Alameda station ] and light rail takes you one block from ballet theater [ convention center stop ].

      (2) Park on east side of downtown. Baseball and football stadiums are are the west and north. (Yes, the Sunday football game is the same time as the 4th world series game.). Take 16th street shuttle to near ballet theater. I used this method to hear Carl Bernstein presentation of his new book four blocks from when the final pennent game was happenin
    • by ivan256 ( 17499 )
      Ok, so you don't like baseball. To each their own. But can you honestly say with a straight face that there isn't enough NFL coverage on TV? You can probably find NFL commentary on at least one channel at any given moment during the football season, and if you don't get the NFL network, you can probably still have about a 50/50 chance of finding some during the offseason too.

      Not only that, but compared to Football, Baseball is actually a fun game to go see live. Football, you go to the game, and then go hom
  • hmm. lets think about this. professional baseball team. best season record in their history, best chance of winning the biggest prize in baseball(whatever it is) that they've ever had, and tickets only being sold online. yeah, they thought that one through.
  • Try getting high demand tickets through sometime. You would think the biggest player in the industry could handle the volume that's entirely predictable. But no. Every single time there's a high demand event sold through TicketBastard its servers bog down to a crawl during the first 30 minutes or so after the tickets go on sale.

"Let every man teach his son, teach his daughter, that labor is honorable." -- Robert G. Ingersoll