National Savings and Investments is the UK’s state owned savings bank. Founded in 1861 as the “Post Office savings Bank”, it was created to giving ordinary working people access to simple banking services and safeguard their savings; as well as a way for the government to borrow from UK nationals. The bank proved crucial to the UK war effort in WW1 and WW2 by allowing UK nationals to purchase “war bonds” and help to fund the British War Economy.
Despite the bank surviving World Wars and countless other crises in the last 150 years, its website seems to be less resilient. Earlier this year the Chancellor, George Osborne, announced a new pensioner savings bond paying interest rates of up to 4%. Demand was expected to be high, so it’s surprising that more comprehensive testing hadn’t anticipated this problem.
This morning the NS&I website crashed as Britain’s “silver surfers” tried to apply for savings bonds. A salutary lesson to those capacity planners and testers who failed to see this coming, or alternatively a “shot across the bows” for the IT management team that failed to deliver the platform capacity to handle this additional demand.