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Some Facts about IRCTC Website

January 26, 2013 by kiranbadi1991 | 7 Comments | Filed in Environment, Performance Engineering, Quality, Small Businesses

Recently I have seen lot many people complaining about the performance of the Indian Railways website and most complains relates to the fact they are not able to book the tickets online and it takes hours for them to book the ticket via IRCTC.I also had faced the similar situation many times but I must say I have been fortunate enough that more than 95% percent of the time,I was able to book it in the first attempt.Maybe its just my luck or my good timings.So I thought let me do some investigation in my spare time and see how much traffic does this site handle and what all are the real trouble the users are facing while using this site.So with this intention,I pulled out the below facts about IRCTC site,(Please do remember that Government employee’s rarely exaggerates the numbers as they just don’t have any motives to play with numbers,based on this wisdom, I believe these below numbers are correct or should be on lower side),

  • IRCTC site receives close to 10 to 12 lakhs(10,00,000 to 12,00,000) hits per minute.
  • The site uses around 450mbps bandwidth.
  • Nearly 5 lakhs tickets are booked on daily basis.
  • At any point of time, it has got close to 10,00,000 concurrent connections open to it.

Of course IRCTC has taken some measures to increase the scalability of its site by adding flash memory drives,restricting the activities of its agent and ensuring that it does regular maintenance of its infrastructure,but I do feel personally it still needs lot of improvement given the kind of traffic it gets.

I can understand general users who don’t understand the complexity of the software complaining about it,but I just don’t understand as what makes IT Folks who had spend years designing IT Systems/Testing to complain about this site,can’t they understand the complexity/volume of the traffic the site handles and the way bureaucracy is slowing it down or they believe these numbers are negligible in volumes.

I feel the folks who are working on this site and folks who had scaled this site has done remarkable job to the people of India.They are in fact heroes and they have wealth of technical information with them. So I would request people who run technical IT magazines contact these folks and maybe you can ask them as what is secret of their scalability in spite of working in tight/constrained and limited work environment.How on earth can they maintain close to 10 million concurrent connections ? Isn’t this a interesting case study worth a attention ?.

Source for this article are here, here,here and here .

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Some Thoughts on SEO-Search Engine Optimization–Google

July 30, 2012 by kiranbadi1991 | Comments Off on Some Thoughts on SEO-Search Engine Optimization–Google | Filed in Others, Small Businesses

From past couple of days, I was working to understand the way search engines work and present data to the users.There were lot of interesting findings  I came across and probably some reason as why Google leads in both online advertising and in search business.They have an good habit of reusing the same asset across different products to feed many of its online business products like Google analytics,Google ads and namely search business.In simple words, Google uses the algorithm which every average common man uses to socialize/know the other person.

Think it this way, If you are an X person and I am Y person,Y will never interact /or try to get familiar with X,until Y has enough confidences or feedback about X from various good sources.Y can collect information about X from various sources like maybe his friends,office colleagues,etc etc.Once Y has this information, he may do additional analysis on that data to ensure that some common interest is shared between them.If Y feels that information and some common interest exists,then he may start a slow relationship with X ,saying Hi or hello once a while.This is how Search engines work and these are the core algorithm used by the search engines.

The challenging part of this process is to collect correct information and from correct sources and implement it technically.In short there exists execution and operation challenges for implementing this technique.

Now lets go back and see what all things Google looks for in the page so that it can access the page correctly,

  • Keywords –These are keywords which are often typed in the Google Search Engine.Every site page needs to have some unique keywords associated with it.Keywords fall in soft and hard category.Hard ones are most searched and most often used keywords and has broad meaning cutting across various things.
  • Inbound Links- These are the links from other websites that point to your website.If someone points to your site, it helps Google to know you better and it consider you some what a person of some good rank.I think this is also one the precise reasons as when people maintain a blog roll in their blogs or why people commenting on various blogs leave their website addresses behind.Ideally its nice concept but it has lot of loopholes in it.
  • Trust Rank: I think this is new technique used by the Google search.I remember in earlier days around 5 to 6 years back, they often use to mention about page rank,but now it seems they have given up that algorithm and started using trust rank.Trust rank is also one of techniques which common person uses in his daily life.In short, how much trust other people has in your site will determine your trust rank.To gain enough trust, site must have some age,some good backlinks,good content,original content etc etc.
  • Meta Title: This is an HTML Tag which is used in the head section of the page.Google expects that every page should have good meta page title,description ,content which should provide good overview about the site.I think Bing also uses these Meta Tags for its search engine.
  • URL : Google expects URL to be clean and should as far as possible contain the information about the pages it leads to.This particular requirement of Google has lead to clean url’s across the web.If you want your URL to be hidden ,use short url’s.Google does not crawl short urls.

.These are key things on which I believe Google Search Stands.The other way around which many people use to get to top results in Google search is to buy a Google ads and come straight on the top.

So if you need a good SEO results, make sure you keep above points in mind and get referral from as many valid sites as possible,older the site which refers to you,better the result you get in search world.Also If someone spams your site with some irrelevant comment, and referring site looks valid but refers to some other content which is not related to your profession or content of your page,then I suggest you accept those comments provided it conveys some useful information.Maybe next time I will write some reasons as why this should not affect your search rankings.However please do note that irrelevant comments/backlinks to the site is  penalized by Google Search.

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My Thoughts on “Customer sues Epicor after ERP software project attempt ends in ‘big mess”

March 11, 2012 by kiranbadi1991 | Comments Off on My Thoughts on “Customer sues Epicor after ERP software project attempt ends in ‘big mess” | Filed in Process, Project Management, Small Businesses

This is an interesting case where in the customer sues the vendor for failing to implement the ERP Project as per the agreed timelines and probably budget.ERP projects has their own challenges with regard to implementation and requirements gathering process. I do fully agree with ParknPool that it does impact the bottom line of the company when ever the key systems goes off line for some reasons.I have seen the mess that happens specially if you are multi million dollar company having sales/order booking partners located  in various locations across the country. Given that most of the key information about the clients like credit limit/ account balance/banking details etc are often interdependent and located in the same systems in ERP, it becomes a kind of challenge of the company officials to work without this information.Manually taking orders and updating the payment is just impossible given that during peak seasons there exists lot of chances of human errors or creating intentional gaps by sales team. Remember no matter how high your position is in the company or no matter how close or deep relationship you have with your clients or customers, there always exists a risk that you might go beyond the credit limit allocated to the customer if you are super busy sales guy and has bonus attached to your monthly targets.

So why this case is interesting , there are number of reasons for this ,

  • Implementer failed to read the requirements correctly.”Because we’re a drop-ship business, we need to invoice our client after the last item ships, because they could ship from multiple locations,” Fonner said. “The Epicor system couldn’t deal with that.”. Though the requirements looks 4 lines statements, I am sure it takes at least 2 weeks to get more clarity on this requirements and at least minimum 4 weeks to implement this.(This is based on my experience).
  • There was also an attempt to change scope  which we often see in some projects due to various reasons.”Epicor also performed something of a bait-and-switch with ParknPool, initially saying that the company’s need would be met with a specific set of software modules, but then saying that more were required after the project started, Fonner said.”. Most service providers tries to do this indirectly in cases where they feel the client can provide still more business.This is just an immature and terrible thought  that is surely going to backfire on you.
  • Software implemented was untested.If you are deploying in production any software which is untested, there exists a risk that you are going to do a  business in loss at least this is true for Software which are as complex as ERP systems. These systems often has lot of information with regard to inventory, finance ,rates and client information etc. I can go on writing as how various departments in the company sees an ERP systems. Its just a very high risk decision to implement an ERP in actual usage without testing for validity of business rules implemented.
  • Its just not easy to sue the seller here for the simple reason that during the implementation phase,I feel there wasn’t any legal check points or milestones to measure percent completion of work.If there were check points, ParknPool could have seen the red flags right after some days of execution start.Checkpoints are must in any projects to see where we stand.
  • This should be interesting case to follow as I have seen many companies changing vendors due to bad quality of management, improper execution or  just operational loopholes or lack of quality for the work done. Suing the vendor for bad quality or incorrect or incomplete implementation is something I feel should have some impact on the way IT Industry works and the way outsourcing works.In all, this case should definitely benefit IT industry in some way specially at least in defining the legal definition of “DONE”.

         

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