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News Sites Slammed By Michael Jackson Traffic 387

miller60 writes "Major news sites struggled to remain online yesterday evening as news of Michael Jackson's death triggered huge waves of Internet traffic. broke the news and was quickly overwhelmed, while Twitter turned off features to handle its load. They weren't alone. Keynote Systems reports that ABC, AOL, CBS, CNN Money, MSNBC, NBC, and Yahoo! News all experienced performance problems between 6:15 and 9 pm Eastern time, when the average availability of news sites tracked by Keynote dropped from almost 100% to 86%. The cloud computing crowd immediately jumped on the traffic jams to argue their case. 'Not have a cloud bursting strategy in the age of cloud computing isn't just wrong — it's idiotic,' wrote one cloud blogger."
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News Sites Slammed By Michael Jackson Traffic

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  • Not only news (Score:2, Informative)

    by Froggie ( 1154 )'s [] been out all day too...

    • It's a shame that they were not ready for the extra traffic because they could have cashed in by selling a lot of advertising.
      All the major TV networks are cashing in later tonight with their own special presentations.

      Now if only they had the ability to make this much money off of living people....

      • by Froggie ( 1154 )

        I have a sudden image of QVC flogging off a bloke's organs. Clearly I don't need Sickipedia.

  • by siddesu ( 698447 ) on Friday June 26, 2009 @09:03AM (#28480703)

    shouldn't that mighty concept get its own word, like "clogger" or something?

  • Last.FM was hit hard (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Renderer of Evil ( 604742 ) on Friday June 26, 2009 @09:04AM (#28480707) Homepage

    According to this graph [].

  • Wikipedia article (Score:3, Informative)

    by Tragedy4u ( 690579 ) on Friday June 26, 2009 @09:04AM (#28480709)
    The Michael Jackson Wikipedia article was inaccessible for several hours yesterday too.
  • Poll results (Score:5, Insightful)

    by suso ( 153703 ) * on Friday June 26, 2009 @09:04AM (#28480713) Homepage Journal

    Right now the results of the /. poll are showing the majority of votes as him being forgettable. Obviously the current young generation has no idea the impact MJ had on the world. Perhaps in time they will learn.

    • Re:Poll results (Score:5, Informative)

      by Xest ( 935314 ) on Friday June 26, 2009 @09:39AM (#28481247)

      Er, I'm of the "Michael Jackson" generation, except to me he's still forgettable when he's not in the media because of a child molestation case or for dangling a baby over a balcony or for managing to blow hundreds of millions of dollars mostly on tat.

      Age has nothing to do with it, it's just whilst all the pop fans were listening to Jacko the rest of us were listening to things like Guns and Roses.

      To many of us, the only reason Jacko wasn't forgettable was the fact he was always getting himself in the media by doing something pretty stupid.

      I think you'll find it's your assumption that just because you seem to like Michael Jackson that he must universally be liked that's wrong. Not everyone has the same tastes.

      If I had to pick some favourite tracks from the 80s then stuff by U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Guns and Roses, Bon Jovi would come well ahead of anything by Michael Jackson. They're slightly different genres, but frankly if I had to pick something cheesy which is the category I'd personally put Jacko's songs into I'd probably even choose something more catchy and recognisable such as A-ha's "Take on me".

      You're welcome to like Jacko, but don't assume everyone else does and assume that if they don't they're from the wrong generation. I distinctly remember even at the time friends were pretty split about him - sure some loved him, but there were still plenty that hated him even when he was in his prime.

      • by Sponge Bath ( 413667 ) on Friday June 26, 2009 @09:59AM (#28481603)

        ...always getting himself in the media by doing something pretty stupid

        His hair catching on fire was a classic. He was an entertainer to the end.

      • Re:Poll results (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Draek ( 916851 ) on Friday June 26, 2009 @10:25AM (#28482019)

        Its not about liking him, its about recognizing the huge influence he had over contemporary and later musicians. Its much like Nirvana, I may personally hate their music (and that statement alone would've been enough to send my karma into the fiery pits of hell, had Slashdot a younger population), but even to me the influence they've had over pretty much anything that calls itself "rock" these days is undeniable. Michael Jackson represented the same thing for pop, so regardless of whether you liked him or not he most certainly wasn't "forgettable".

      • Re:Poll results (Score:4, Insightful)

        by baap ( 1585797 ) on Friday June 26, 2009 @10:27AM (#28482065)
        Im sorry but this sort of cynicism deserves to be slammed. You being from the Michael Jackson generation and saying that he was mostly hated is not a worthy thing to say to one of the few American entertainers that constituted the ubiquitous symbol of emancipation your country represented to the rest of the world during some pretty hard times. This is a man whose name and music was recognized and appreciated from the somalian pirates to the pashtuns carting RPGs to the Taliban. No im not saying he was the preferred musician for terrorists, the world over but that he provided common ground for the whole world to sing/dance and express themselves. Your limited perception of his phenomenon is testament to the isolation you are in and a refusal to participate in mourning this musical genius. I equate you to the Paparazzi of the Beethoven generation. thanks /\ \/
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Xest ( 935314 )

          Er, I'm British, I'm not sure why you'd assume I'm American.

          Manchester United (British football team) are also prominent world wide including places ranging from Somalia to China to Pallestine, but it doesn't mean they really are that important in the grant scheme of things.

          You can say what you want about my opinion of Michael Jackson but do not forget there are still hundreds of millions out there who agree with me.

          It is stupid to pretend everyone liked him. Yes he had a massive following but it is not uni

      • Re:Poll results (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Friday June 26, 2009 @10:38AM (#28482299) Journal

        Michael Jackson on one hand, Guns 'n Roses on the other. No wonder I never liked music as a kid. The 80's were a fucking wasteland. The Talking Heads are the only band from the decade I like, and I didn't discover them until adulthood.

        Of course, Junta and Pretty Hate Machine were both released in 1989 so it wasn't *all* bad.

      • Re:Poll results (Score:5, Informative)

        by Attila Dimedici ( 1036002 ) on Friday June 26, 2009 @11:08AM (#28482957)
        If you are comparing Michael Jackson to Guns & Roses, you are not from his generation. I never liked his music (OK, some of the Jackson 5 stuff), but he was a tremendous talent. Those of the "Michael Jackson Generation" might prefer Aerosmith (first album 1972 to MJ's first solo album in 1971), but Guns & Roses (first album 1985) is a later generation. While MJ was still making music when Guns & Roses came along, so was Aerosmith.
        • Re:Poll results (Score:4, Informative)

          by Xest ( 935314 ) on Friday June 26, 2009 @12:09PM (#28484017)

          Well, most people talk about stuff like Thriller, Smooth Criminal, Billie Jean etc.

          It wasn't until the mid 80s that Jackson really peaked which is around the same time that GnR came about which is why the comparison. The earlier stuff wasn't anywhere near as popular and most Jackson fans almost certainly didn't become so until the mid 80s, that's probably why the 80s are commonly referred to as being the period that defines the Jackson generation because it was the period that really defined his career.

    • Incorrect (Score:2, Insightful)

      by mdwh2 ( 535323 )

      Since when was 44% a majority? (Unless the vote has changed significantly since you posted...)

      And they didn't anyway - rather, 44% say they were unaffected by his death. The "forgettable" was just biased blurb added by the poll author, and can't be assumed to be representative of people's views.

      I'd say that if 50% of the entire population are affected by your death, that's pretty damn good going.

  • Aside from being annoyed at the "cloud" buzzword I keep seeing, how (honestly, not rhetorical) would cloud computing help here? Wouldn't the often-updated news content (especially audio and video) still have to come, at its source, from CNN or whoever, since they're the ones writing/saying/videoing the news content? I must be missing something fundamental to cloud computing, so what is it, please?
    • Dunno. Perhaps we should read the fine article, maybe it explains a little more than the summary did.

    • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

      Well, the idea is that when your website gets hit hard you can just use some extra, idle capacity "in the cloud." Works great. Unless of course everyone else is doing the same thing....

      • A real load balancer and extra server capacity works better.
      • by Dunbal ( 464142 )

        Well, the idea is that when your website gets hit hard you can just use some extra, idle capacity "in the cloud." Works great. Unless of course everyone else is doing the same thing....

              You know, I'm trying very hard to try not to draw a parallel between your statement and the recent 'sub-prime' crisis.

    • by 3.5 stripes ( 578410 ) on Friday June 26, 2009 @09:19AM (#28480921)

      Supposedly cloud computing is "on demand" so, having more resources available when you need them (though who knows if it'll help in cases where bandwidth is a limitation) should resolve a lot of these problems. It'd probably also be a sort of intermediary, a cloud of caching servers, leaving the main servers to update the cloud..

      Take that with as much salt as you feel it needs.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Supposedly cloud computing is "on demand" so, having more resources available when you need them (though who knows if it'll help in cases where bandwidth is a limitation) should resolve a lot of these problems

        It might help when CNN gets pegged. But since it's coming out of a shared common pool of resources, it won't help when CNN, MSNBC, Fox, etc. etc. etc. all get pegged.

    • by bytesex ( 112972 )

      If the elements of the 'cloud' were distributed all over the world, then: yes. However, we already have a name for that: it's called 'distributed computing'. But that's what people wearing purple pants do to your exact computing terms. Let's hope that this one doesn't go the way of the 'intranet' - which for some reason now seems to mean 'a web application dealing with internal data that can also be accessed from the outside', and not 'network of computers with internal addresses'.

    • At it's heart, the idea is wide scale load balancing, so the bandwidth to any one site would be very hard to saturate, because that site could be served from multiple disparate locations at the same time. Likewise the processing power would be commodity driven, so no single node would be overwhelmed.

      The problem occurs with widespread events. Load balancing works well when some systems have more load than others, but it's just crappy overhead when every system is getting hit.

      I'm not sure in cases like this,

    • their point is that you could just buy temporary capacity to handle the load of traffic and then drop it afterward, permitting horizontal scalability. what they fail to see is that probably doesn't even exists the computing power to provide a tangible increase of capacity on that kind of sites, which are already quite huge<br/><br/>even with proprietary implementations as big tables and google filesystem replication may not happen in time to provide tangible results; scaling is not a matter of a
    • by Colin Smith ( 2679 ) on Friday June 26, 2009 @09:59AM (#28481605)

      The news would have been everywhere with minimal bandwidth consumed.

      Basically, the webserver concept is broken for really big traffic.

      Of course, the problem with usenet is it's too efficient. People can post crap too easily and get others to pay for it.

  • Isn't it funny how Slashdot seemed to be waiting for an excuse to put this story on the front page? Now that it's *mildly* I.T. related it's ok though right?
  • *sigh* (Score:4, Insightful)

    by vertinox ( 846076 ) on Friday June 26, 2009 @09:10AM (#28480793)

    I hate to say this, but things like this (and Anna Nichole Smith) make me weep for humanity.

    We put too much interest in people whose saving grace is that they can put a song together when there are so many other problems in the world that need resolving.

    Do you think world would have paid as much attention to Stephen Hawking if he died?

    I'd doubt it but he's probably made a greater contribution to mankind over the long term compared to MJ.

    Secondly, MJ kind of screwed the pooch when it came to financial responsibility. The guy was known to publicly throw tantrums at his personal assistants when they told him to stop buying everything in the store and spent millions on stuff like paintings, statues, and luxuries that none of us could ever afford.

    Hell... For all the grief we give about Bill Gates, at least he is doing something for humanity that is good other than spend money on luxuries. The guy is not a hero and we should not look to him for inspiration. Plenty of other people in streets of Iran to look for that.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Dunbal ( 464142 )

      I hate to say this, but things like this (and Anna Nichole Smith) make me weep for humanity.

      We put too much interest in people whose saving grace is that they can put a song together

      As far as I know the only thing Anna Nicole Smith ever put together were two oversized sillicone filled breasts. Having them exist simultaneously in the same universe, much less on the same torso, was itself a feat I admit.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Society rewards greatness in competitive, valuable fields. Writing music may not be as valuable as curing cancer, but no one in this comment thread could write/sing a song as well as he. So that's why we reward him, despite his personal shortcomings.

    • by phorm ( 591458 ) on Friday June 26, 2009 @10:02AM (#28481635) Journal

      I remember that when I was young, MJ was very much an idol to many people my age. Who says we're looking to him for inspiration - or even as a role-model - in this day and age? No, it's the passing of something from our youth. We mourn what he was, not what he had become.

      And yes, if Stephen Hawking passed I'd imagine it would still be a fairly big event as well.

    • Re:*sigh* (Score:5, Insightful)

      by slyn ( 1111419 ) <> on Friday June 26, 2009 @10:02AM (#28481639)

      For the a lot of people who grew up during his heyday, Michael Jackson was "The King of Pop". As a singer/performer, he helped define a genre during his time. People remember the emotions of getting pumped up before a game to a song, or losing their virginity to a song, or getting through a rough time with a song. Those emotional attachments create powerful memories and connections.

      When my grandfather died my mom listened to the same Yanni CD for like 12 months straight and it never occurred to me why until like 4 years later when I made the connection that that was what we would always listen to on our weekly visits to the nursing home, and that the songs soothed her and helped her cope with the loss. Because of that, Yanni (whose music I'm not even a fan of) evokes a pretty strong emotion to me, and a much stronger emotion from my mom. The completely intangible feelings that music can give you can feel _more_ tangible or be more rememberable than the changes to our lives brought about by the achievements of some guy in a lab, even if those lab achievements mean far more to mankind in the long or short run.

    • by Kozz ( 7764 )

      See, I kind of figure that we really can't take all these deaths of public figures TOO seriously. Employing gallows humor, I'd posted on my social networking site [which shall remain nameless] the comment, "It's confirmed: rhinoplasty kills."

      Jackson and Fawcett were their own interesting but odd/unique people (to put it mildly). I'm not crying, sending a card or flowers. If we mourned every death we'd get nowhere, right?

      Anyhow, my wry comment wasn't well received. I think people need to lighten the fuc

    • Re:*sigh* (Score:5, Informative)

      by sootman ( 158191 ) on Friday June 26, 2009 @12:15PM (#28484111) Homepage Journal

      For all the grief we give about Bill Gates, at least he is doing something for humanity that is good other than spend money on luxuries.

      Score: -1, factually incorrect. From USA Today's coverage: []

      Jackson had a huge soft spot for charitable causes. He gave millions of his own money and helped raise millions more to support advocacy groups ranging from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation to the American Cancer Society. His efforts prompted a listing in the 2000 Guinness Book of World Records for most charities supported by a pop star. [emphasis mine]

      He donated $1.5 million to a burn center, the proceeds from a settlement he received from PepsiCo after sustaining second-degree burns to his scalp while filming a 1984 TV commercial for the soft-drink giant. Later that year, he donated an additional $5 million to charity from his share of the Jackson 5's Victory Tour. Also that year, he was honored by President Reagan for his contributions to combat drug and alcohol abuse.

      Jackson also co-wrote with Lionel Richie We Are the World, the star-laden 1985 single that sold 20 million copies, raising millions for famine relief.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Hell... For all the grief we give about Bill Gates, at least he is doing something for humanity that is good other than spend money on luxuries. The guy is not a hero and we should not look to him for inspiration. Plenty of other people in streets of Iran to look for that.

      Michael Jackson won 15 awards for his humanitarian efforts that I could immediately find. Bill Gates has won 2 that I could immediately find. Michael Jackson was 50 when he died, Bill Gates is 52 and has more resources. You have simply been blinded by the jokes and allegations about ole Jacko. Outside of his music, he was a humanitarian, and he had many friends. He was a compulsive buyer, had serious daddy-issues, and was very, very weird -- but for a man his age, he probably changed the world, for the

  • Cloud (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Martz ( 861209 ) on Friday June 26, 2009 @09:10AM (#28480795)

    What if everyone uses Cloud hosting?

    The Cloud works for some customers because they are depending on under-utilization of the available resources. If all the news agenices, Twitter and Facebook all used Amazon then perhaps it would create the same melt down.

    • Re:Cloud (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SatanicPuppy ( 611928 ) * <> on Friday June 26, 2009 @09:21AM (#28480951) Journal

      That's exactly what I was thinking. Right now these sites have to spend a certain amount of cash to prepare for these types of events. If they were all "in the cloud" then they wouldn't bother with that extra capacity...The cloud can cover it, right?

      As soon as some generalized event comes along that saturates a number of big "cloud" subscribers, then the whole system is going to be heavily taxed, not just a few individual sites, and by the very nature of the "cloud" thing, that will affect a wide number of sites outside the sites that would otherwise be affected.

      You're going to have to sell me on redundancy before you can get me to buy into magical cloud land.

    • Re:Cloud (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ezzzD55J ( 697465 ) <> on Friday June 26, 2009 @09:35AM (#28481187) Homepage

      from the blogpost:

      why elasticity is so important when architecting your web application stack

      while probably technically with merit, sentences, verbiage like this make me want to be sick. exorcist sick.

  • by hardburn ( 141468 ) <hardburn&wumpus-cave,net> on Friday June 26, 2009 @09:19AM (#28480907)

    This wouldn't have happened if they had my poorly-defined buzzword idea!

  • by syousef ( 465911 ) on Friday June 26, 2009 @09:19AM (#28480911) Journal

    Cloud computing pundits seem to ramble about instant on access and scalability. Nice fantasy. What they actually want to do is make you buy into a single vendor system that's tightly controlled, which may or may not scale as expected when the time comes and that is plagued by the same outages we see from any service vendor.

  • by BigBlueOx ( 1201587 ) on Friday June 26, 2009 @09:20AM (#28480939)
    Oh man. Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett dead on the same day. What a sad day for humanity. How will we cope? I keep checking the news outlets to see what Angelina Jolie has to say about all this.

    Hey! What ever happened to that Ir-whatever thing? You know. Irast or Irag or something. You know. People marching about something somewhere. Whatever happened to that? Did Angelina Jolie ever comment?
  • by mseeger ( 40923 ) on Friday June 26, 2009 @09:21AM (#28480953)


    when Princess Diana died in 1997, we were supplying support services for one of the biggest news sites here in germany. It hit the site like a Tsunami. Unluckily someone reported in an IRC channel, that the news site would display pictures of the dying princess. So there was a real frenzy. It started early in the morning and we were called to fix a server malfunction. Unluckily the server malfunction turned out to be 99+% TCP SYN packets on the incoming side of the internet connect. That was at a time, when major news sites were connected by 2mbps lines :-). We were so fixed on locating a technical problem, it took us some minutes to connect the symptons to an event in the real world. Luckily the cab driver who picked me up had his radio on.

    CU, Martin

  • I guess those life-preservation pods he was sleeping in were just a scam? I admit I was surprised at news of his death. He had such means, I just figured he'd outlive me... Now I feel like I need a T-Shirt that says, "I outlived Michael Jackson."
  • The guys over in Iran trying to communicate via Twitter. I'm sure those guys really loved it.
  • by FatalTourist ( 633757 ) on Friday June 26, 2009 @09:33AM (#28481141) Homepage
    I am going to write a whiny, holier-than-thou post on the Internet to let everyone know that I know there are more important things in the world: starving children, Iran, etc. There you go, my sweet ego...
  • by ayahner ( 696000 ) on Friday June 26, 2009 @09:33AM (#28481151)
    I can't believe they got the autopsy footage bootlegged and on the interwebs so fast... []

  • We all knew the /. effect on web sites

    Here come (and go) MJ effect.

  • I've never understood why CD and DVD sales leap after the death of a performer. Surely your praise and money are most useful while the performer is still alive?

    Obviously with the huge amount of media coverage many people will discover his music and buy it.

    It's a tragic loss, but then like many pioneers and super famous artists of the 70s and 80s it becomes hard to produce amazing music. Kraftwerk are a good example of this, massively influential but electronic music is so mainstream they can't do anything t

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by tttonyyy ( 726776 )

      I've never understood why CD and DVD sales leap after the death of a performer. Surely your praise and money are most useful while the performer is still alive?

      I guess because you know "The Complete Collection" is actually complete. Like when I bought the Alien Trilogy and then they released Alien: Resurrection. The bastards. Die already.

  • Cloud (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Fuzzums ( 250400 ) on Friday June 26, 2009 @09:43AM (#28481289) Homepage

    So if all those sites were "in the clouds", they would all demand extra (limited) cloud power. So unless default is to have 3 or 4 datacenters on standby...
    But that would, in a way, conflict with the goal of efficient resources.

  • by sxpert ( 139117 ) on Friday June 26, 2009 @09:46AM (#28481357)

    ... the MJDoS ;)
    defined as "whenever a well known celebrity dies, it takes the Interwebs with it" ;)

  • Its sad really... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Zantac69 ( 1331461 )
    ...that people care more about kiddie fiddlers and has been stars than the state of the world. Wackjobs blowing themselves up, morons shooting up a town, dunderheads tanking the economy - now that will possibly affect my life. Mike, Farrah, and Ed checking in to take the dirt nap wont affect my life...and neither will John + Kate + brats - John...and neither will Survivor or American Idol. I can understand the junkfood of it - people want something to take their mind off of how screwed up the world can b
  • as if millions of sequined gloves and nippleated red swimsuits cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened, and the '80s will never be the same again.

  • by damburger ( 981828 ) on Friday June 26, 2009 @10:04AM (#28481669)

    The twitterverse has spontaneously shifted from being a (supposed) forum for Iranian democracy to a Michael Jackson tribute site. News sites reporting the death of this one man, this self-obsessed child molester with a surgery fetish, have been swamped with traffic whilst sites reporting the deaths of thousands of innocent people never have any problem coping with traffic: []

    I am an atheist, believing in no life after this one, and the upshot of this is I find all human life to have indefinite value - indefinite but basically equal. If you are mourning right now and your surname isn't "Jackson", then it is a direct affront to those who die through no fault of their own and are implicitly disregarded by the rest of the world during the absurd rituals we employ to mark the death of somebody famous.

    I don't believe in human nature or historical inevitability. I believe in free will, and thus I believe people have a choice. Masses of people have made the wrong choice, and it makes me both sad and angry. The reaction to Michael Jackson's death, rather than the death itself, has put a real downer on my day.

MESSAGE ACKNOWLEDGED -- The Pershing II missiles have been launched.