by Meridith Levinson

Colorado Rockies Computer Crash Provides Lessons in Redundant Systems and Contingency Planning

Oct 22, 20072 mins
Data Center

You know that expression, “Stupid is as stupid does?” Well today it goes for the Colorado Rockies baseball team. The club, which heads to the World Series on Wednesday to face the Boston Red Sox, had to shut down ticket sales today, after 8.5 million attempts to access the Rockies’ online ticket sales system crashed said system.

This little snafu wouldn’t be so egregious if:

  1. The Rockies had been smart enough to have a contingency plan in place. As of this reporting, the team’s management was scurrying to come up with a Plan B. A statement on the Rockies website reads, “A plan for the sale of the available World Series tickets will be announced as soon as the details are available.” In other words, details aren’t available.
  2. The team’s spokesperson, Jay Alves, hadn’t announced last week that the Rockies “were prepared for any computer problems,” according to the Associated Press. Clearly, the Rockies weren’t prepared for this. I sure hope Mr. Alves likes the taste of crow.
  3. The club hadn’t come to the hair-brained conclusion last Wednesday that the fairest way to distribute World Series tickets would be over the Web. That’s right: You can’t line up at the ball park (in this case, Coors Field) and buy paper tickets the old fashioned way. You gotta have a computer and Internet connection—or access to one—to buy tix. Obviously the Rockies’ management isn’t aware of the fact that only 42 percent of Americans have broadband Internet access at home, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project.
  4. The National League Champs had learned a lesson about the importance of redundant systems from the notorious Victoria’s Secret fashion show of 1999, which brought down the lingerie seller’s web site when it failed to estimate consumer demand for video of scantily clad super models.

Clearly, the Rockies do not deserve to win the world series. But then again, that could be the rabid Red Sox fan in me speaking. What do you think? Do the Rockies deserve to win? Was this an honest mistake? Who’s to blame? How could the crash have been prevented?