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Political Sites Scale Up For Election Traffic

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the hearken-are-those-trumpets dept.

The Internet 68

miller60 writes "News sites and political blogs are expecting extraordinary traffic tonight as Americans track results of the Presidential election, and are scaling their infrastructure to meet the challenge. Yahoo anticipates its Election Night traffic may be three times the volume seen in 2004, when it had 80 million page views on Election Day and 142 million more visits the following day. Hosting companies say customers have been ordering extra servers and load balancing services, while content delivery networks are also expecting a busy night. Will traffic approach record levels? Akamai's Net Usage Index, which tracks traffic to its customer news sites, is one metric to watch."

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lol (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25627567)

It's going to be hilarious when McCain wins. I can already hear all the empty threats to move to Canada.

Re:lol (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25628677)

yeah maybe in four years

Re:lol (1)

triathlon4life (1052424) | more than 5 years ago | (#25629471)

LoL is right. McCain wins, LOL....what a joke!

Re:lol (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25636313)

Spoiler warning... don't read if you're planning on watching the reruns :-)

The networks called Ohio and New Mexico for Obama. I for one welcome the new Democratic overlords.

TV Viewership will go down? (5, Interesting)

xmas2003 (739875) | more than 5 years ago | (#25627659)

Since so many people are checking online, I bet TV viewership goes down - be interesting to compare and see how strong an inverse relationship it ends up being.

I.e. in the old days, everyone would watch the TV anchors drone on so they could hear a snippet what each particular viewer was interested in. But using pull (instead of push) technology, you can zoom in on what you are interested in much more quickly and efficiently.

P.S. In the meantime, I'm support the HULK for President! ;-) [komar.org]

Re:TV Viewership will go down? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25628097)

What's a "TV"? And why does it have viewership? How many Google ads can it hold?

Re:TV Viewership will go down? (1)

garaged (579941) | more than 5 years ago | (#25628153)

my guess is that most people will be watching TV and browsing sites, at least that's what I do.

There is a lot of people watching tv on bed, with the laptop right beside them.

Re:TV Viewership will go down? (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 5 years ago | (#25631749)

>There is a lot of people watching tv on bed, with the laptop right beside them.

That's just sad.

Re:TV Viewership will go down? (1)

garaged (579941) | more than 5 years ago | (#25633285)

don't you ever get some rest ??

Re:TV Viewership will go down? (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 5 years ago | (#25633525)

>don't you ever get some rest ??

No.

More importantly, I don't have a TV. When I did have one, it wasn't in my bedroom.

As a musician (pianist), I learned two things a long time ago:

1. TV sucks time. I *need* that time to split between my two careers and various hobbies.

2. TV takes up space. I have never had a home with enough room for both a TV and a grand piano.

Re:TV Viewership will go down? (1)

rugatero (1292060) | more than 5 years ago | (#25633825)

That piano must be a tight fit if it precludes owning a TV. Also, given that you appear to have a computer, a TV would take no additional space if you used a tuner card. If TV's not for you that's just fine, but #2 seems like an odd rationale.

Re:TV Viewership will go down? (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 5 years ago | (#25643241)

A grand piano is a big piece of furniture. Modest housing usually has room, in my experience, for a TV and the line-of-sight for the TV, but rarely has enough room for a piano. Solution is obvious. It may be an "odd rationale" for someone who isn't a musician. My day job is in engineering, but my career is a professional musician, so it's a primary consideration.

Re:TV Viewership will go down? (1)

rugatero (1292060) | more than 5 years ago | (#25644963)

You've misunderstood my point - what I was getting at was that compared to the amount of space required for your piano, the additional space required for a TV is pretty small (although I foolishly neglected to consider fully the line of sight).

I didn't mean that owning the piano was odd - I'm in no real sense a musician; more of a wannabe unfortunately. Even still, if I had the space and the cash I'd have a piano in a heartbeat.

But I'd still find room for my TV!

Re:TV Viewership will go down? (3, Interesting)

dmomo (256005) | more than 5 years ago | (#25628201)

It's funny, this ability to pull info like that. Like you said, we used to wait for that snippet of information. Now that I can get it right away, I find myself constantly refreshing looking for change in the data. I look at the numbers and watch the votes come trickling in. Still, I want more data. It's a weird obsession. The more we get, the more we want. Oddly, no matter how much there is, I always feel a little unfulfilled. Can one be addicted to information?

MMOOOOOOAAARRRRRR !!! (5, Funny)

ciderVisor (1318765) | more than 5 years ago | (#25628345)

F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 F5

Same problem with progress bars (1)

autocracy (192714) | more than 5 years ago | (#25629115)

No matter how long I stare at a download bar, particularly a Bittorrent one, it always seems to take twice as long as it really does.

Re:Same problem with progress bars (1)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 5 years ago | (#25629417)

No matter how long I stare at a download bar, particularly a Bittorrent one, it always seems to take twice as long as it really does.

Why of course. It runs slower and will never finish while you look. You're collapsing the wavefunction.

Re:TV Viewership will go down? (1)

rugatero (1292060) | more than 5 years ago | (#25633875)

The more we get, the more we want. Oddly, no matter how much there is, I always feel a little unfulfilled. Can one be addicted to information?

Your ideas intrigue me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

...

I said, I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

...

Godammit, give me the newsletter already!

Re:TV Viewership will go down? (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | more than 5 years ago | (#25628257)

Or instead of hoping from TV channel to TV Channel, people will hop from a information channel to another channel. I have noticed in the past 20 years a vast increase in the quantity of information that people demand - not in the quality - for late breaking hot news. Only the tempo has picked up.

All I can say is... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25629037)

Thank God for the Bradley Effect.

NO MORE (-1, Troll)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | more than 5 years ago | (#25627749)

Ugh are you kidding? I can't wait for this crap to be over. Watching it all in awful super slo-mo on the net isn't going to change the results. I'll just wait until Wednesday or the end of the week or next month or whenever they finally have official, permanent results (none of these al gore / bush results).

Re:NO MORE (1)

hansonc (127888) | more than 5 years ago | (#25630887)

why is this marked Troll? He's right. No matter how many times someone punches F5 the results are going to be the same.

Re:NO MORE (1)

Psiven (302490) | more than 5 years ago | (#25631633)

Agreed. But some people enjoy the spectatorship much akin to sports.

Re:NO MORE (1)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | more than 5 years ago | (#25632075)

This is not like sports. There are no amazing game changing plays. There are tv personalities mindlessly reading teleprompters full of stats for hours on end... that's it. The game is over - they're just tallying the score at this point.

Re:NO MORE (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 5 years ago | (#25632261)

Wait.. explain how that's not like sports.

I just want a bell (4, Funny)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 5 years ago | (#25627963)

All I want is something I can subscribe to that will "ring" when the election gets called. I want to know as soon as its called so I can flip on the TV and watch the acceptance/submission speeches but I don't want to keep polling a website.

A simple SMS of "Obama has won... Wheeeee" or "Oh Fuck its Palin" would be sufficient.

Anyone know where I can get it?

Re:I just want a bell (4, Funny)

internerdj (1319281) | more than 5 years ago | (#25628249)

Do you want it today or after the Florida recount of the recount of the recount or after the resulting lawsuit against Florida is resolved?

Re:I just want a bell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25629775)

What recount? There's nothing to recount..

Re:I just want a bell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25637449)

Whooosh!

Re:I just want a bell (4, Funny)

lazyforker (957705) | more than 5 years ago | (#25629247)

Post your 'phone number on /. - I'm sure one or two people would be willing to send a message when the results are called.

Re:I just want a bell (1)

reynolds_john (242657) | more than 5 years ago | (#25631195)

Subscribe to some random twitter/tweets? I hear that's the place to be if you're ADHD....

http://election.twitter.com/ [twitter.com]

Re:I just want a bell (2, Interesting)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 5 years ago | (#25631813)

>All I want is something I can subscribe to that will "ring" when the election gets called.

December 20, I believe, is the date that the Electoral College convenes in the Senate.

All we have until then, amounts to "reasonable assurances" that we know how the EC will vote in the Election.

Winning the at-large election today will certainly be cause for celebration for the supporters of the candidate who wins, but this is still no guarantee that today's winner will be elected, only that electors who are pledged to that candidate will meet in the Senate on Election Day in December.

Re:I just want a bell (1)

gwbennett (988163) | more than 5 years ago | (#25632493)

http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/ [fivethirtyeight.com] has a text messaging service that will likely do this.

In Socialist USA (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25628015)

TV watches you.

Re:In Socialist USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25629375)

Not yet, but they do listen! [infowars.com]

Bah! (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#25628145)

Stick it all on a virtual cloud 2.0 with dynamic load balancing and retarded fallover and have done with it.

On second thoughts, just stick it. I've had enough, I'm moving to a commune in Vermont.

Had enough? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25628329)

Had enough of watching the fate of the world being handed to one of two individuals, neither of whom seems to be ready or deserving of that enormous burden? Help code for the Metagovernment [metagovernment.org] and put an end to this tyranny of individuals.

Re:Had enough? (1)

Arivia (783328) | more than 5 years ago | (#25629041)

You sound like Andrew Ryan.

Re:Had enough? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25633015)

>Had enough of watching the fate of the world being handed to one of two individuals

Those two individuals didn't spring up out of nowhere! There were *many* contenders for this race. It happens that currently the USA has two political parties that dominate because each has a broad base of appeal that others lack, and because they are very well established and organized.

At least on the Democratic Party side of things, the process of choosing the candidate is pretty open and transparent, and open to participation.

As for "the fate of the world", the reality is, the President of the United States has limited authority. However, the *next* president gets all the power that G.W. Bush asserted. This has the Republicans running scared to the point of insanity, as the ponder the reality of the potential that they may be losing today.

We shall see.

Re:Had enough? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25634327)

Those two individuals didn't spring up out of nowhere! There were *many* contenders for this race.

How many, really? By the time people actually had a chance to cast a vote, there were what, maybe 6-10 from each of the two parties? Out of a pool of more than 200 million adults?

It happens that currently the USA has two political parties that dominate because each has a broad base of appeal that others lack, and because they are very well established and organized.

Read: because they have a stranglehold on this republic that pretends to have some sort of democracy to it. The more I think about what a farce this system of representation is, the more I respect the Metagovernment link in this thread. At least they are trying for democracy. The mainstream parties have no real interest in the subject. They just want power.

Not Just the US (4, Interesting)

whencanistop (1224156) | more than 5 years ago | (#25628267)

To be fair, Yahoo will have to cope with all those people outside the US (yeah, I know - we don't count) who are looking for detailed analysis of the result that they just can't get on TV.

I don't know why you'd be checking Yahoo! news though. Surely you'd opt for one of the news organisations that has a history of journalism (eg BBC or Reuters).

Maybe it is just me.

Re:Not Just the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25629645)

has a history of journalism (eg BBC or Reuters).

If by Journalism you mean yellow journalism, then yes, the BBC is the way to go. (they've done some really bad hack jobs on some good Americans this year. Hello out of context quotes).

Re:Not Just the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25633123)

Yahoo pulls its stories straight from AP, who I'd say have a fair history of journalism, so it's more or less the same.

Re:Not Just the US (1)

budword (680846) | more than 5 years ago | (#25634687)

This is the USA. We don't have journalism here. We just have corporations that pretend to be journalistic while serving up entertainment, to drive an advertising revenue stream. So there is no advantage in NOT going to yahoo.

No kidding (4, Interesting)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 5 years ago | (#25628295)

It took me 2.5 hours to vote this morning. There was a line waiting to vote that was starting to wrap around the entire outside of the school, its parking lot and all the way up inside toward the very back of the school. I've never seen this many people interested in voting, and I live on the outskirts of Northern Virginia (Herndon, to be exact) where we really don't have that many people.

Re:No kidding (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25628395)

See all those other people you have never seen are the ones ACORN registered 75 times. Did you see the Dallas Cowboys football team?

Re:No kidding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25628837)

I dunno, I guess all of them must have been inspired by McCain's 2006 Keynote speech at an ACORN event.

Re:No kidding (1)

dpilot (134227) | more than 5 years ago | (#25629129)

My town has had 28% of the vote in early. Even if the turnout is above average, it seems to me that it'll have to be more than 28% above average for the poll lines to get longer. I came into work early, so I can leave early and pick up my daughter for her first Presidential vote. I've missed the opening rush and the lunchtime rush. I hope to get there before the after-work rush.

Re:No kidding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25629979)

You don't have many Real Americans. Lots of communists, though, or so I hear.

Re:No kidding (1)

dealpocket (1376187) | more than 5 years ago | (#25629981)

It took me 2hrs. Yes, lots of people interested in voting.

Re:No kidding (1)

David_W (35680) | more than 5 years ago | (#25635681)

It took me 2.5 hours to vote this morning... and I live on the outskirts of Northern Virginia (Herndon, to be exact)

Apparently the secret was to wait until the afternoon. I'm in Herndon too (outside the town limits) and voted around 4pm. Took 5 minutes.

Americans choose none of the above (5, Funny)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 5 years ago | (#25628363)

BOOTH OF DESPAIR, Ohio, Tuesday - Americans today committed egregious acts of democracy [today.com] to elect the next failed administration and the next failed Congress.

In a fabulous upset, almost no-one could bring themselves to vote directly for either of the official candidates, instead opting for a write-in vote. Popular write-ins included "the black guy", "the old guy", "McCain from 2000" and "Tina Fey." The seventeen votes for "The Invisible Man" were tallied for Joe Biden. Several tons of Liquid Paper needed to be scraped off voting machines.

The winning candidate turned out to be Noneof Theabove, 46, of Dogshit, Nebraska. Apart from the Presidency, Mr Theabove won 72% of Congressional seats and all Senate seats up for election this year.

Mr Theabove's policies include drinking, shouting abuse at the television and inchoate existential despair. "He completely embodies the national mood," said Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight.com, just before applying for a new job flipping burgers.

A majority of US soldiers in Afghanistan stated the place was "just fine, really" and they were learning to speak Pashto rather than returning. Canada looked south and snickered, though not very much as they still had Stephen Harper to cope with. The Kingdom of Mexico stated its "regret" today that it has had to close its borders to American refugees.

I noticed (0)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 5 years ago | (#25628383)

My father has a dutch site giving links to sites covering the elections (http://www.digischool.nl/gs/community/vsverkiezingen.htm , for those interested). THe site never gets more than ca. 100 views a day, today it has surpassed 1100. I expect that next week the page can be archived due to a lack of views.

Re:I noticed (1)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 5 years ago | (#25628521)

I thought you were about to say your dad was Andrew Tanenbaum!

Re:I noticed (1)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 5 years ago | (#25628587)

Nope, I went to one of his lectures once. It was about Minix. At the end he all gave us a free Minix CD. I tried to boot it, but it failed. That was the end of my Minix experience :)

Need a name for the phenomenon (1)

PearsSoap (1384741) | more than 5 years ago | (#25628465)

So, they're trying to stop their sites getting ballotted? No? Anyone?
I'll get my coat.

Obama, not Mamadou! (1, Offtopic)

lapinmalin (1400199) | more than 5 years ago | (#25628615)

Confucius once said: "the one who in the evening feels itchy in his ass, next morning gets his small finger stinking"

Those metrics in easier to understand forms (2, Informative)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 5 years ago | (#25630143)

142 million visits in one day is about ~1640 visits per second. However, traffic isn't distributed evenly - typically peak is twice that of average. So they need to be provisioned to handle ~3287 visits per second.

They'll also want some headroom to ensure they can still serve in case of hardware failure, so let's imagine they provision for 4000 visits/second.

The Yahoo homepage, at least for me, triggers about 32 file loads on a cold cache, so that's a peak hits per second of about 128,000.

For comparison, Akamai globally peaks at about 6.5 million hits/second [akamai.com] .

Re:Those metrics in easier to understand forms (1)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 5 years ago | (#25630267)

Sorry, I forgot something whilst doing the calculations. Yahoo said that's what they handled in 2004 and that they want to be ready for 3x that last year. So for their homepage alone they'd need about 384,000 hits/sec of capacity. That's just the Yahoo home page, and ignores clickthroughs to other parts of the site. It does assume everybody hits the site on a cold cache though. Most likely a lot of those users are Yahoo regulars and they'll only have to load 7 or 8 files instead of 32. So actual traffic won't be as high as that.

Might not be high. (1)

k1e0x (1040314) | more than 5 years ago | (#25630297)

I can't find a real good reason to vote.

Our candidates are Coke and Pepsi, both cola and I'm not into cola. Don't care much who wins because whoever does will be a member of the one party elite.

Re:Might not be high. (1)

Golddess (1361003) | more than 5 years ago | (#25630977)

Our candidates are Coke and Pepsi, both cola and I'm not into cola.

So instead of going out and voting for Sprite or 7-Up since they "can't win", you're not even going to bother to vote? It's people like you who are the reason we keep having cola year after year after year.

(Don't get me wrong though, just because it pisses me off that doesn't mean I won't support your right to not vote.)

Re:Might not be high. (1)

BrotherJustin (1135421) | more than 5 years ago | (#25631393)

I wanted to vote for Kucinich, but since he officially dropped out, I went with Ron Paul. It's ok to vote 3rd party. There's someone out there that thinks the same way you do. Will they win? No. But you can still vote for them.

Re:Might not be high. (1)

k1e0x (1040314) | more than 5 years ago | (#25632095)

No, I'm voting (for Baldwin) I'm just not following the news.

Re:Might not be high. (1)

/dev/trash (182850) | more than 5 years ago | (#25653563)

You're telling me that 1) your state had just two people running for President? ( My State PA, had 5, and we're as backwards as it comes. b) You can't write in someone?

Precise stats from Democratic Convention... (1)

phobonetik (522196) | more than 5 years ago | (#25638065)

"Will traffic approach record levels? "?

Most likely!

Speaking from experience when we ran demconvention.com [demconvention.com] over the very busy Democratic National Convention week, traffic went from effectively nothing to massive spikes in hours.

All in all the website got 2.6 billion hits, 3.2 million visitors, 350,000 hours of video watched... [silverstripe.com] in the four day/96 hour period of the convention!

This was about double the website traffic that the Republican convention (gopconvention2008.com) got.

It will be interesting to learn what sort of infrastructure and platforms are used to support the major election coverage news websites. DemConvention.com ran on just a few servers running the LAMP (Redhat) stack with the PHP5-based SilverStripe open source CMS [silverstripe.com] ...

lighttpd gets an honourable mention.... (1)

Demerara (256642) | more than 5 years ago | (#25638415)

My site of choice in recent weeks has been www.electoral-vote.com whose keeper had this to say before turning in at 0400hrs:

The site did extremely well. With three servers running lighttpd we were able to handle 300,000 visitors/hour and 2500 requests/sec at the peak. The total number of visitors yesterday was just over 3 million.

Perhaps not the scale of a Yahoo, but impressive nonetheless. Oh - it's a great site too!

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