Vue Cinema - Website how long a queue - Denial of Service?

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by ChuckMountain, Jul 29, 2018.

  1. ChuckMountain

    ChuckMountain
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    So was looking at booking tickets for my local Vue and tried yesterday and there were a couple of issues with the website being slow and timing out but decided to give up and try again today.

    This morning was greeted with this message

    upload_2018-7-29_11-48-3.png

    Really and that's part way through my progress it was over 20,000 people and 20 min wait when I started. I know it's raining today but really that many people....

    Now I have left it queuing and surprise surprise when you are allowed into the booking website it eventually falls over with an error retrieving booking data, please try again later.

    To me it looks like the backend isn't too healthy and potentially is suffering from a Denial of Service attack. :(

    Instead of implementing a DDOS system they have added a queuing system that just allows legitimate customers longer to wait for it then not to work :(

    Anybody experiencing similar?

    I feel like emailing in but doubt their normal customer services will do much. Anybody got an email address for the boss ?
     
  2. IronGiant

    IronGiant
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    Being offered a 22 minute wait in the Vue Queue right now...
     
  3. Bl4ckGryph0n

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    23 minutes for me :) ROFLMAO when we all try it, it will become worse.
     
  4. hippy240980

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    I think it's because they arer having a few promotions ongoing and are finding the potato server they use can't handle it.
     
  5. imightbewrong

    imightbewrong
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    Looks like they need a few lessons in horizontal scaling.
     
  6. ChuckMountain

    ChuckMountain
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    Amongst other things, they need to look at their stats as 20,000 people in the queue and they have 150,000 seats for me the maths doesn't add up....

    45 minutes queue on their phone system too ....
     
  7. JimmyMac

    JimmyMac
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    It’s everyone trying to pre book tickets for The Meg
     
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  8. enigma1701

    enigma1701
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    What annoyed me was I only wanted to see the film times, I still couldn't access without the queue because - I assume - they have built in booking tickets on every page! Grr
     
  9. ChuckMountain

    ChuckMountain
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    Yep agree whoever designed the overall solution needs a good talking to .....

    Have written an email to the boss on a guessed email so will see if I get a response.
     
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  10. ChuckMountain

    ChuckMountain
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    Odeon don't seem to have an issue with their website ...
     
  11. The Dude

    The Dude
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    Sometimes, things break. :)
     
  12. ChuckMountain

    ChuckMountain
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    They do but as a regular Vue cinema goer, it breaks quite often for me and this problem has been around since yesterday. It will cost them money ....
     
  13. imightbewrong

    imightbewrong
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    Absolutely shocking website if you need to go into a queue to view read-only data like this.
     
  14. hippo99

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    Maybe it’s the rain/sun/snow/wrong type of leaves that’s caused the outage :laugh:
     
  15. Trollslayer

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    They've done a TSB?
     
  16. Bl4ckGryph0n

    Bl4ckGryph0n
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    Or just under attack and in six months time they’ll come out with a statement that whilst it was breached no user information was leaked. Yet you are wondering why you get so much spam and email messages citing your password.
     
  17. ChuckMountain

    ChuckMountain
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    Good to see they have fixed the problem this morning.... :cool:

    Oh hang wait no, you can't now get to the home page and Google doesn't have the times for Monday. Home page part loads after 2 minutes or so. Are their systems connected with wet string or did somebody think they could save a few quid by outsourcing it to wherever .... :facepalm:
     
  18. imightbewrong

    imightbewrong
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    Ironically outsourcing is the way to get scale... when done right.
     
  19. ChuckMountain

    ChuckMountain
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    When is it ever done right though ..... ;)

    Outsourcing is ok when providing generic services i.e. your desktop implementation and support, your servers etc.

    However where I don't think you should outsource is where for example you develop your own product. In this case for Vue the website, app and their own internal booking systems. You add additional complexity and ownership issues not to mention time taken to deliver requirements etc. You effectively lose control of your "product". Imo this would better have an internal team that could then be augmented by contractors if a big project is required.

    To scale these days is pretty easy with cloud providers but it assumes your solution is fit for purpose in the first place :)
     
  20. imightbewrong

    imightbewrong
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    Well we are doing it right :)

    Vue are a cinema - they are good at operating cinemas. A ticket buying/seat management system is presumably something that has been solved dozens of times. It's probably not easy to get right, as Vue are demonstrating :devil:
     
  21. ChuckMountain

    ChuckMountain
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    Ok, I will bite, what industry or what does the company sell? Are you the customer or the outsourcer? What outsource services are being provided.

    Working for a big outsourcer I know what I would want to outsource and what I wouldn't want to. It depends on what it is you are selling\providing etc.

    Yes a ticketing system should be generic and should be bought off the shelf. It should have multiple integration points and should be scalable. It's their integration with their website and app that need work.

    If it had been outsourced for example who is to blame in this case? How should it have been fixed. The fact it might not have any DDOS protection because it wasn't specified in the spec. It could be running on one server in somebodies garage who knows ... :)
     
  22. imightbewrong

    imightbewrong
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    Financial services, very large scale. Some things we build, host in house, some we build in house and host exernally, and some we just buy services off the shelf.

    Depends what the issue is - are they a crap service provider? Did Vue do their due dilligence on picking them? Did Vue not pay their bill so the service provider didn't scale up and left booking requests languishing in a long queue as there weren't enough workers to process them?~

    Hopefully someone(s) got a shoeing :)
     
  23. ChuckMountain

    ChuckMountain
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    And that's where outsourcing can work well and with economies of scale :)

    However when you have got a relatively small team providing central services such as the website only you lose control if you employ a 3rd party to do that or rather you add layers into the mix. Those add time, complexity and additional cost that you might not get if you have that team in house.

    Yes, somebody should definitely get there butt kicked for this one.

    In this case, I would have probably expected a model whereby their main IT infrastructure and support is outsourced but they keep a small internal development team to take care of their website and app as they should know how to do these things better than the outsourcer. The same way you build some stuff internally because you understand your business better than the outsourcer. :)
     
  24. imightbewrong

    imightbewrong
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    I would view "If there are lots of users, add more capacity" as a decision that doesn't require a high degree of domain knowledge :)
     
  25. ChuckMountain

    ChuckMountain
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    You need to know how the app and supporting system works, throwing more capacity at it doesn't mean it will work any better. That's the equivalent of say lets put a V12 engine in an old style mini when what you actually need is a HGV.
     
  26. imightbewrong

    imightbewrong
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    If you need an HGV then the architecture is wrong IMO - what you want is a system that works with a fleet of minis, and you can rapidly add and remove minis as the demand increases and decreases. Amazon/Google/Azure etc have an absolute ton of minis :)
     
  27. ChuckMountain

    ChuckMountain
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    It depends on what you are trying to achieve there will be times when you have one Mini, a fleet of Minis, one HGV, a fleet of HGV or a combination of the two :)

    The challenge with a ticketing system is the user requirement to reserve a particular seat(s) which people want in a cinema. You need to select a seat, allow the user to choose that and then hold that seat for a duration till they either timeout or book the seat.

    Generally that means you have one central version of the truth rather than lazy commits.

    Going back to the original problem, I don't believe there were 20k users trying to book tickets and either their counters are not working and\or they were being hit by a DOS attack. This you could counter by buying off the shelf protection for from the likes of Cloudfare etc.
     
  28. ChuckMountain

    ChuckMountain
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    Made the BBC News today....

    Vue cinema denies website is crashing

    Others said that even when they reached the front of the queue, attempts to book tickets failed.

    Vue said the queuing system helped manage the "huge demand" for tickets it currently faced.

    In a statement, Vue said: "The website is not crashing."


    Really should have taken a screenshot of the server 503 error messages I was getting.

    Either the IT support is really spinning it or Vue don't have a clue :(
     
  29. alphaomega16

    alphaomega16
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    If you going to do a promotion and you put a queue system in place you know in advance traffic is going to boom so get more server capacity for it.

    Its like when Currys/Argos etc do a massive sale and for 3/4 of it the site is down, YOU KNOW WHAT IS COMING SO PREPARE DAMNIT.
     
  30. ChuckMountain

    ChuckMountain
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    I was reading on the Register comments that one person knew something about the backend system and it was down to being reliant on a single threaded app .... doh :facepalm:

    @imightbewrong it's not a case of them adding more minis or HGVs, they need to upgrade from their push bike first .... ;)
     

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