Wishful thinking on website fix

 

Imagine what would happen if websites such as Facebook and Google crashed because of overuse. That has not happened because the sites were designed with scalability in mind. A scalable system can increase throughput under increased load by adding more hardware. It works just like a checkout line in Publix, so that if five checkout lines are open and the lines are too long, the manager simply opens additional checkout lines to handle the overflow. A well-designed website works exactly the same way.

The federal government has indicated the problem with HealthCare.gov is that there are many more users than anticipated. If that were the only problem, and if the site were scalable, the problem would be fixed in a matter of days through additional hardware. It is far more likely that the fundamental design of the website is flawed, quite possibly because the specifications were changed very late in the development process.

We have been told that the site will be functional by the end of November. My guess, based on 40 years of experience in the field, is that November 2014 — that is not a typo — is a much more likely estimate.

Robert Grauer, Coral Springs

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