iTunes Activation Servers Overwhelmed

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It’s already being called the “iPocalypse.” Many early purchasers of the new iPhone 3G are unable to activate their phones through iTunes because the activation servers are overwhelmed. Similar problems are being reported with U.S. activations of AT&T service and U.K. activations through O2. The problems with the activation servers have become the story of the day, transforming iPhone mania into one of the most public crunch-time operational failures imaginable. Here are some of the headlines on major tech news sites:

Clearly not what Apple had in mind. But how could Apple not have foreseen the activation logjam and prepared its infrastructure to handle the volume? A message we heard over and over at recent conferences like Velocity and Structure 08 is that scaling to handle the huge traffic spikes faced by today’s popular online services requires both expertise and equipment.


So how does Apple manage this high-profile gaffe? Their response will provide yet another case study in how a major tech company seeks to retain trust amid a massively frustrating user experience. Check out this morning’s post, Dealing With Downtime, to read about how lessons learned from uptime struggles at other firms.

About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor-in-chief of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.