The official website of the London 2012 Olympics will suffer outages during the games due to poor design and performance, according to systems management software vendor Compuware.
The company tested the performance of six Olympics or London-related websites, including Time Out’s Olympics site and the TfL website. It found that www.london2012.com fared the worst in a number of metrics.
According to Michael Allen, director of IT service management at Compuware, these readings – taken at the start of July – do not bode well for the website’s performance as use of the site grows during the games.
"We suspect the loading time is going to go a lot higher once the workload ramps up, and [the website] will fail," he told Information Age. "I’m pretty sure that they’re going to hit availability issues."
He said that the site’s performance issues will be particularly accute for visitors using tablets and smartphones. "We think that many people will be accessing the site from across a 3G connection on mobile devices," Allen said. "The kind of volume of data [on web pages] across that type of network connection will sigificantly ramp up the response times."
"It looks like a site that hasn’t been built with performance in mind," he added.
Allen offered some changes that LOCOG, which operates the site, could make to improve performance. "They could look to compress the graphical content. A lot of the 261 server requests per page are for different graphics and .jpegs, so they could gropu them together and request them as one."
But he said that it is too late to make major architectural changes to the site. "There are some things that are too risky to do when people are going to be using the site."
LOCOG dimissed Compuware’s concerns. "We are confident that the London 2012 website will cope with increased traffic in the next few days and throughout the games,"
The london2012.com website is hosted by Olympics technology partner BT, but the company says it did not develop the site. “London2012.com is a wide-ranging website, which contains live information and multimedia functionality from different application and content providers," BT told Information Age.
"BT is responsible for hosting the london2012.com website only. The website is hosted at two BT data centres in the UK, on dedicated infrastructure set aside for its exclusive use. The infrastructure we’ve put in place is robust, powerful and scalable – so we’re confident that the site will cope with increased traffic."