Revolution IT has prepared this Q and A to help clarify the misunderstanding between the performance testing of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2016 Census website, which was in the scope of work we undertook, and security testing that was not part of our remit.
What was the nature of tests conducted by Revolution IT on the ABS Census website?
Revolution IT was responsible for the performance testing of the website that included simulating expected load and allowing for sufficient peak head room as specified by the ABS. The modelled peak load on Census night was expected at 250 submissions per second and allowed for an average sustained peak of up to 350 submissions per second (with a peak of 400 users per second) to ensure that there was sufficient capacity.
Why did the website fail after having been tested for large numbers of users?
This question should be directed to ABS, but according to ABS the website did not fail. It was taken offline due to security concerns. The understanding and difference between security testing and performance testing is important here. DDoS attempts were not part of the performance testing and would have been a security testing consideration which was not part of Revolution IT’s mandate.
Did Revolution IT do its job properly?
The performance testing completed by Revolution IT was successful and no evidence suggests that there was a performance issue as a result of legitimate users accessing the site. The ABS has stated that the site was taken offline as a security precaution, it did not crash or fail because of the number of users.