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Sam's registration Issue Explained

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Posted by billinmd on January 19, 2012 at 13:50:23:

I found this elsewhere and thought I would post it here for your consumption:

I would like to clarify what happened last night with the Sam's registration and set the record straight. We host the website on our server. Yes, during heavy traffic the server was slow and sometimes timed out. But, you and many others were able to successfully get in and submit a registration. However, many people were getting the message saying they were already registered. I spoke with one person this morning who successfully submitted a registration 8 times in the first 3 or 4 minutes and got the already registered message every time. The same thing happened to me when I tried to register. I tried again 3 or 4 times and kept getting the same message that I was already registered so I thought the registration must have gone through and I just didn't get to the payment screen.

I have access to the database where MMA stores the registrations so I checked the database to see if we were in it. The only entry I found in the database was my registration from last year. All of last year's registrations were still in the database. At that point I knew what was happening. When a team that competed in a Sam's event last year tried to register they were getting the already registered message. Teams that didn't compete last year were having no problem registering. All the teams getting the already registered message kept retrying adding to the server overload.

I looked at the files on the server and saw that the file containing the code to check to see if a team was already registered was updated around 8:09 so MMA had figured out what was happening and fixed the code. Unfortunately by that time some of the contests were already full.

Most of the registration problems had nothing to do with the server. It actually handled the load better than last year. The fact that so many people were able to get in and submit a registration, even though they got the already registered message, confirms that. But, when they kept retrying it made the bandwidth situation worse than it should have been. A lot of people were calling the KCBS office but there was nothing the office staff could do about the situation. They weren't managing the registration process, MMA was.

Another problem that occurred was that if you successfully registered after a contest reached the 30 team limit it put you on a waiting list. Once you were on a waiting list it considered you to be already registered if you tried to register for a different contest.

I just want to let everyone know what actually occurred last night and where the problems were. Yes the server was slow under the heavy load but it never "crashed" as some claimed and people were getting through and submitting registrations. To reduce the server load, we even shutdown the Smoke Ring website from 7:30 to 8:30. The problem is that the registration process was poorly thought out and inadequately tested.


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