Levi’s GranFondo causes crashes … of servers.

Levi’s GranFondo spawned a significant crash before the riders even made it to the start line.  This wasn’t bicycles piling up, however.  Instead, the popularity of the ride apparently resulted in a significant outage on the first day of registration as folks rushed to ensure a place in the hugely successful event.  Despite having reportedly “planned for several times the traffic from 2010’s registration opening day” folks were unable to register, and the registration system was taken offline and postponed.

According to a post on the event’s Facebook page:

When we designed the registration system for 2011, we built what we thought were strong systems to get all the information we need from you in order to put on what we believe is the best ride in the world. Unfortunately, we developed these systems for a load that was far surpassed by the actual traffic on our website and, later in the day, in our registration database. Based on past experience and statistics, we planned for several times the traffic from 2010’s registration opening day. Even with this large margin of safety built in, it wasn’t enough. The crush of people forced us to migrate our website to a new, massive server and that same crush brought a new problem at 4pm today, forcing us to rebuild our database structure to handle the load of people trying to register simultaneously.

Now I’m not going to say I know what it takes to run servers under heavy user loads (but if you ask me if I can I’ll answer yes) but I suspect there is a solution to this problem.  If you go just a little bit south of the event’s Santa Rosa host city, you’ll find this mythical place called Silicon Valley.  And guess what – there is a whole lot of road cycling that takes place in that area.  And a few of them may just know a thing or two about running a web service.  Just saying…

Registration is set to (re)open tomorrow, Tue Jan 18 at noon Pacific time.