Why unemployment sites crash but Netflix doesn’t

28 apr. 2020
258 603 Vizionare

State unemployment insurance systems are getting crushed by a flood of applicants, cutting off people at the worst possible time. But why can’t those systems scale up like Netflix or Zoom? Figuring out the answer means diving deep into the way those systems were coded, and the mixed blessing of COBOL.
Read Makena Kelly's piece here: bit.ly/3eX2F9n
Subscribe: goo.gl/G5RXGs
Like The Verge on Facebook: goo.gl/2P1aGc
Follow on Twitter: goo.gl/XTWX61
Follow on Instagram: goo.gl/7ZeLvX
Why'd You Push That Button Podcast: pod.link/1295289748
The Vergecast Podcast: pod.link/430333725
More about our podcasts: www.theverge.com/podcasts
Read More: www.theverge.com
Community guidelines: bit.ly/2D0hlAv
Wallpapers from The Verge: bit.ly/2xQXYJr
Subscribe to Verge Science on ROlabel, a new home base for our explorations into the future of science: bit.ly/2FqJZMl

  • Is there anything else you want us to talk about on The Big Picture?

    The VergeThe VergeAcum 9 luni
    • A deep dive into the years of attempts by states to replace these mainframe systems would be interesting to see (its not just unemployment insurance, but all kinds of defined benefits systems). There were attempts in '01 and '08, but funding often dried up or contracts resulted in millions spent with only band-aids applied. These types of systems are the hidden infrastructure that society runs on, not as visible as bridges, but their effectiveness affects people just the same. Even when they do succeed, often the public doesn't notice (or may not even be aware). Also, props is due to the unsung engineers who have kept these systems going for so long.

      Adam HuttonAdam HuttonAcum 8 luni
    • Paul.

    • how to learn to code

      Puneet SinghPuneet SinghAcum 8 luni
    • Ah yes the virus... the political, media and $ motivated virus where your rights will be taken away AFTER when it's normal (because all of us wearing masks and being antisocial due to government rules is NORMAL?) anything they want to push onto you only needs some of that magic C019 sauce added to it. And gullible manipulated people who've had their fears used against them (again) will fall for it like they have for hundreds or thousands of years.

      David AstonDavid AstonAcum 8 luni
    • Covid19 exposing just how much of a 3rd world country america truly is.

      JRLMJRLMAcum 8 luni
  • Explained very well

    Umberto FournierUmberto FournierAcum lună
  • 1 reason, netflix makes millions of dollars white unemployment sites give money. Same reason why it takes the government no amount of time to deduct taxes from your paycheck but it takes weeks or months to get your tax return 😂

  • The bottom line is they haven't spent the money to fix it. The answer to the titular question, Why unemployment sites crash but Netflix doesn’t, is more basic. Netfix makes money on it's web services, the unemployment sites, and gov in general, do not. Beyond that, the government must answer to many people who don't care, when they want to upgrade services. Netfilix must answer to many people who do care, if they don't upgrade their services.

    Sven JohannsenSven JohannsenAcum 6 luni
  • Good high level explanation. It bears mentioning that it's far easier generally for private enterprise to hop on a public cloud provider and scale out vs. the government, which is under more scrutiny from both a sensitive-data standpoint and a tax-dollar-appropriation standpoint.

    Jeffrey LewisJeffrey LewisAcum 6 luni
  • 'Cobol' is not the issue; compile with gnu cobol for x86. This isn't even oversimplified, it's just watery. The entire infrastructure is the issue. The government isnt the one which needs to handle the hosting. There is nothing wrong with COBOL, other than expressiveness, it doesn't 'force you to treat your servers like pets'. The issue is hardware, not software. Anyone could write a COBOL compiler for any architecture for any reason and artificially break the language's specfication to allow interop with os/firmware.

    JebacTych PolicjantowJebacTych PolicjantowAcum 6 luni
  • I don't know whether Indiana's online unemployment system depends on Cobol or not, but I've never seen it crash, and it works pretty damn good !

    walmartdog1142walmartdog1142Acum 6 luni
  • wow, I always wondered why that happened, thank you for the explanation

    SupaSillyMexiSupaSillyMexiAcum 6 luni
  • This shows private is better!

    Jonathan LauJonathan LauAcum 6 luni
  • Reminds me about a person complaining about long lines at post office, that same person probably also complain about high taxes

    Thomas NielsenThomas NielsenAcum 7 luni
  • I tell you what.. even modern upgrades can have the same issues... I know of companies trying to move off their legacy system to a modern solution and it's a huge train wreck... it's extremely complex.... god i hate software..

    BJ EsmailbeguiBJ EsmailbeguiAcum 7 luni
  • Who classified the United States a developed country?

    E. CamiloE. CamiloAcum 7 luni
  • Encouraging that our governments are so far behind and can’t get their act together.

    Craig PurcellCraig PurcellAcum 7 luni
  • Bruh states are too cheap when it comes to the government computer system. I'm a programmer btw.....

    MisceryYTMisceryYTAcum 7 luni
  • In conclusion, they just can't be bothered.

    PhantomEaglePhantomEagleAcum 7 luni
  • Ignore technical debt at your peril - I've worked on many systems where technical debt was never addressed. You can pay for it now, or later. Sadly most companies and government never address it until their backs are against the wall and have no choice but to deal with it. This isn't an issue with COBOL (or any language by itself), but neglect and the lack of upgrading and developing scalable systems that can handle the increased loads.

    reimann4reimann4Acum 7 luni
  • Who maintains their codebase in COBOL in 2020?

    mudpuddlepandamudpuddlepandaAcum 7 luni
  • Most of these are excuses. The websites ARE NOT RUNNING COBOL. They are supposed to be collecting data that then gets spoon-fed to the COBOL-running mainframes in a neat queue. TLDR: COBOL may be the reason your cheque is late, but NOT that the site crashes.

    Jan HertsensJan HertsensAcum 8 luni
  • Not sure what box this guy came out of, but all the Government sites I've worked on were not written in Cobol. They just didn't have the hardware infrastructure setup right. Lowest bidder issues.

    ScottScottAcum 8 luni
  • 五毛

    pixellythpixellythAcum 8 luni
  • It’s called sense of priorities

    Xerno TecXerno TecAcum 8 luni
  • Damn whoelse codes in COBOL these days?

    Black Lives MatterBlack Lives MatterAcum 8 luni
    • Banks

      David ChipmanDavid ChipmanAcum 7 luni
  • Mortals out there: "Is JuSt A wEbPaGe!"

    Cesar GuevaraCesar GuevaraAcum 8 luni
  • Zoom does go down btw

    Pallavi ModiPallavi ModiAcum 8 luni
  • زي موقع مركز قياس 🔰

    Alin mathuoAlin mathuoAcum 8 luni
  • Can't young people learn COBOL? Maybe just give it a new cool name. That's frequently what "new" technologies are mostly about anyway.

    DavidDavidAcum 8 luni
  • Learned it in college, It's pronounced "kow·baal" not "kow-bol"

    Bill RealsBill RealsAcum 8 luni
  • Love cobol.

    John HamiltonJohn HamiltonAcum 8 luni
  • ironically youtube went down just when i tried to watch this

    Victor MarbusVictor MarbusAcum 8 luni
  • Just make a new website

    Pranjal GoyalPranjal GoyalAcum 8 luni
  • I remember our government in the PH rebuilt their entire NBI clearance database because of a dispute with the former contractor. I don't know what kinds of data these governments store in COBOL, but they should have a migration process in place rather than keep using the old system.

    triadwarfaretriadwarfareAcum 8 luni
  • COBOL seems to be synonymus with the mainframe systems used by businesses and airports today. There's an undeniable upside of using mainframe vs a modern database: it's extremely fast and secure (as long as you don't leak a password and put access in the open internet). There's a video by Linus about mainframe systems and why this ancient systems are still in use today

    triadwarfaretriadwarfareAcum 8 luni
  • This is an example of why dev or service providers should constantly update software or service which is used constantly.

    Sharishth SinghSharishth SinghAcum 8 luni
  • watching this as an back end dev 😂

    Ujjwal KumarUjjwal KumarAcum 8 luni
  • "It's not that COBOL is a bad programming language" - I'm a so called "web engineer" and I can tell you that COBOL is pretty bad.

    Szilágyi ErvinSzilágyi ErvinAcum 8 luni
  • This still happens with private company, the people they first laid off are almost always IT staff, its basically as if the company are laying off their firefighters

    tsuguminxkentsuguminxkenAcum 8 luni
  • Well then maybe they can outsource the maintenance and upgrade to Netflix?

    William Poetra YogaWilliam Poetra YogaAcum 8 luni
  • that's how America operates anyway, on future money to make life better now. It'll catch up once they can't pay for the national debt payments.

    Ten BehTen BehAcum 8 luni
  • Bad developers and terrible architecture plus neglected infrastructure is the recipe for disaster. And still, many really large companies have horrendous code base that never stops to grow. You reap what you sow

    Henrique BaldinHenrique BaldinAcum 8 luni
  • Netflix puts the money where their mouth is. The gov only cares the rich people keep their money

    BaruBaruAcum 8 luni
  • "We're gonna have to pay for it" FED : Hold my Trillion .

    Tyler StoneTyler StoneAcum 8 luni

    John MendozaJohn MendozaAcum 8 luni
  • There's money for Netflix to be coded properly. For government sites....

    Urban PicturesUrban PicturesAcum 8 luni
  • Private company vs government..lol that's economy 101, you should learn Verge

    KimchiManKimchiManAcum 8 luni
  • I love "The big picture" series. It's so informative

    Muhammad Arsallan ShahabMuhammad Arsallan ShahabAcum 8 luni
  • Public vs Private ? dis gon b gud

    Cédric CoulombeCédric CoulombeAcum 8 luni
  • This is misleading. You have limited & oversimplified the problem 🤦‍♂️

    DuranDuranAcum 8 luni
    • Well yeah, it's 6 minute video made for a broad audience. You could make an entire series for this subject and you would still not be able to talk about everything.

      Daan VDHDaan VDHAcum 8 luni
  • hard to pay for things when they keep cutting taxes

    Christophe BrelandChristophe BrelandAcum 8 luni
  • America: wanted a small government. Santa: wish granted.

    KesmaniaKesmaniaAcum 8 luni
  • damn... zoo, pets, cobol, servers, cloud, amazon... really? Why didn't you cover "wrong people deal with the problem" thing, like in this particular video?

    Oleh KhomeyOleh KhomeyAcum 8 luni
  • Well... My country's infrastructure is written almost entirely in Java. Can't decide what's worse...

    DONFNDONFNAcum 8 luni
  • Good opportunity for Trump to step up and actually improve something that really needs improvement!

    glbernini0glbernini0Acum 8 luni
  • Notable addition: A bank needs all operations to be handled in order, because one operation could invalidate the next one. You can’t withdraw $10 from an account with $10 at the same time and get $20. Netflix, however, doesn’t really care about this type of problem. Netflix is SO MUCH MORE easier to decentralise than a bank is. Netflix’s video database changes what, once per day? A bank’s database changes every millisecond.

    EudaldEudaldAcum 8 luni
    • Have you ever heard of microservices? This allows developers to change code and push updates without breaking the entire service. Of course Netflix and Banks don't have the same concerns as far as accuracy and precision. A bank could and should run on a decentralized system to prevent an attack on a centralized server system. Modern encryption allows sensitive information to be stored on remote, third party servers without worry. If the server provider is reputable (AWS, Azure, G-Cloud) then the bank will not need to worry about downtime or security. We live in a world where you can literally throw more money at a problem and there are experts who can give you the result you're looking for in a matter of seconds.

      Trenton LeslieTrenton LeslieAcum 8 luni
  • well if they switch the system from opt-in to opt-out, then they can reduce the load significantly. They can get their money back from people who shouldn't have got the money afterwards when they file their taxes.

    William WangWilliam WangAcum 8 luni
  • So the answer is because the government isn't funded

    howdareyou41howdareyou41Acum 8 luni
  • Does this also relate to the problems of the federal health care website back when the ACA launched?

    Michael Dreyfus-PaiMichael Dreyfus-PaiAcum 8 luni
  • LoL LORD BLESS ME WITH THE EXCUSES. if the american public falls for this lousy excuse then they deserve all pains that will come from sleep walking thru life. cos the lord knows, software aint as complicated as the verge makes it out to be lol. the US government *literally* has all the money in the world but they cant maintain the basics?! how complex are these data structures in the all mighty COBOL. perhaps declare WAR on COBOL. lol now thats n good use of money. but hey the american public like being taken for n fool.

    mal naaimal naaiAcum 8 luni
  • That is why future-proofing is so important. Not only self-preserve but also a way to see yourself out.

    Tony YuTony YuAcum 8 luni
  • I'm gonna guess money.

    ZenBraneZenBraneAcum 8 luni
  • Public unemployed and non unemployed have been over reliant on welfare for decades? How it is any different now? It isn't. The public only believe it because that's how it's framed in videos like this. Truth? As I said before we've become WAY too reliant on the government and others handing out to us than BEING reliant on OURSELVES.

    David AstonDavid AstonAcum 8 luni
  • I was interviewed for a job with them years ago. I warned them that they need to upgrade, I made a stern warning to the person I spoke to. He did not care at all! All they want to do is put a band aid on it and move on. The sad fact is that they are never going to move on.

    John CatJohn CatAcum 8 luni
    • The notorious buu i just need to be super saiyan kame hame ha those keep asking $$ . hehehe

      Sungai PetaniSungai PetaniAcum 8 luni
    • Sungai Petani You need the manager to fire people who don’t achieve the kpi goals.

      The notorious buuThe notorious buuAcum 8 luni
    • The notorious buu unprofit but that how to get contract and paid staff expenses.

      Sungai PetaniSungai PetaniAcum 8 luni
    • Sungai Petani Profit is how a business functions. Thief from tax dollars is how a government functions. So. You need management to be the business mind and think critically with actual kpi goals that would get the program running correctly. Someone like that would make way more money in the private sector.

      The notorious buuThe notorious buuAcum 8 luni
    • you don't tell they need to upgrade, you have to tell them how much they can profit if they buy new system.. ehm ehm.. that's how government work.

      Sungai PetaniSungai PetaniAcum 8 luni
  • upscaling

    Ludwig 234Ludwig 234Acum 8 luni
  • totally BS, your research missing so much , netflix video streaming and account database totally different .. boss dont put your hand which u have no logic ..

    IrfanIrfanAcum 8 luni
  • When your are in maintenance and people just don't realise what you do is important

    TheWeedOperationTheWeedOperationAcum 8 luni
  • How difficult is it to move to a server less architecture?

    Nadeem MohammedNadeem MohammedAcum 8 luni
  • Grace Hopper, Legend!

    NP CompleteNP CompleteAcum 8 luni
  • There are going to be many great lessons for big institutions like governments or banks, all of which tend to handle their system this way. Regards from a dev.

    Krisztián KőrösiKrisztián KőrösiAcum 8 luni
  • Chester benning was reborn as an engineer

    Jesus Enrique Gutierrez CortazarJesus Enrique Gutierrez CortazarAcum 8 luni
  • It seems hard to believe that rebuilding these systems from scratch would be so expensive that it hasn't been done in 40 years.

    Ymi_YugyYmi_YugyAcum 8 luni
  • If I learn COBOL, and you give me 2x standard US programmers. I'll be happy to handle this.

    WrongderfulWrongderfulAcum 8 luni
  • I'm a programmer and this is the first time I've heard of COBOL

    Amritansh SinghalAmritansh SinghalAcum 8 luni
  • Guy working in government: Hey why do we still use a very outdated system for our websites? Another guy working in government: LOL you actually want to pay people on unemployment/disability conveniently?! Guy #1: I mean they need the money... Guy #2: Thats my point! Thats basically it in a nutshell.

    John StramielloJohn StramielloAcum 8 luni
  • This title is aids

    JasonBarnesJasonBarnesAcum 8 luni
  • So what. There are lot of unemployed software engineering, who can work together under government and update everything.....

    Shantanu DubeyShantanu DubeyAcum 8 luni
  • That title is aids

    Jack YarrowJack YarrowAcum 8 luni
  • Title typo?

    Vince MondiguingVince MondiguingAcum 8 luni
  • What's with the title?

    Andrew JohnsonAndrew JohnsonAcum 8 luni
  • The title is high?? No one is talking about this

    yeetus fetusyeetus fetusAcum 8 luni
  • I am a COBOL developer

    Anjuraj RajanAnjuraj RajanAcum 8 luni
  • Is there a typo in the title?

    Carson SaldanhaCarson SaldanhaAcum 9 luni
    • The title made my brain crash

      Jimmy JeongJimmy JeongAcum 9 luni
  • Does that title make sense?

    Nishant ThakkarNishant ThakkarAcum 9 luni
  • Very informative. Even though I'm a Cobol coder, I was exposed to the network and server limitations.

    MrNvbeatzMrNvbeatzAcum 9 luni
  • So they don't load balance. The end.

    TroyAbedMorningTroyAbedMorningAcum 9 luni
  • I hate government a little less now.

    Your UsurperYour UsurperAcum 9 luni
  • NetCOBOL runs on the .Net framework. There is a way to cutover to modern technology.

    foley2k2foley2k2Acum 9 luni
    • foley2k2 sounds like good news to C# developers

      willinton06willinton06Acum 8 luni
  • It is time to switch to Pascal, guys. Never heard about such innovative programming language?

    Леонид ДеякЛеонид ДеякAcum 9 luni
  • The BIG PICTURE series are our favorite. Simple and Understandable from common man point of view.

    Vasudevan MohanVasudevan MohanAcum 9 luni
  • Cobol teachings at colleges ended in 1980 when Microsoft started to promote C#, and now C+++. Also, Visual Basic took over Cobol but Visual Basic was discontinued in favor of C++ by Microsoft by 2009. I have those collected book right in front of me right now! Now is all about Python, Java Kotlin, & still C++ and of course frameworks and HTML as the main front end language replacing PHP. This is what people are coding on right now. All of these COBOL people have died, retired, or went on to teaching. It's just the way things are. Me I am in the HTML, CSS, FrameWork, SQL, JavaScript box for web development. And my time for using Python will also come in another 18 years from now! It's just the way it is. How many mechanics nowadays really know how to mess with a carburetor right out of school ? Probably none!

    ZZAcum 9 luni
  • Website: it is a website! Netflix: is not just a website it's a whole network!!

    Sakshi ChopraSakshi ChopraAcum 9 luni
  • Dude talks like band camp chick from American Pie

    Jimmy's World TourJimmy's World TourAcum 9 luni
  • Netflix uses FORTRAN instead if COBOL

    Daniel AstilleroDaniel AstilleroAcum 9 luni
  • One site gives free money, the other collects money. Of course the one giving money will crash. Duh.

    BenjaminLee2009BenjaminLee2009Acum 9 luni
  • Public sector vs private sector innovation at work folks

    UnrealProductionsUnrealProductionsAcum 9 luni
  • government doesn’t want to shift! That’s it!

    abhishek lomshabhishek lomshAcum 9 luni
  • Why can't they just virtualize it and put it in a cloud? Maybe simple OS images don't already exist like they do for CentOS... but you could make them, couldn't you? I expect it would be hard but if you're throwing Billions of Dollars at it it seems pulling a team together to do that one task (make an interpreter to run COBOL inside of a modern deployable disk image) would be do-able. We have lots of ways to do that made by hobbyists that can run old games and such. If you had money you wouldn't even need to reverse engineer or re-invent (you could buy the rights to COBOL source or whatever). I don't get it. But I'm not a programmer. Also, a lot of these websites are simple text forms. It's not like we need to supply scrubbed video on demand. I get that it would be hard to interact with a large public database that has to be private and conform to a lot of government legal requirements. But that seems like a single problem there. I agree that it's about neglecting maintenance. But it also seems like a choice to not even try? Anyway when they finally get around to it I definately recommend they use a FOSS approach so they don't get locked into another technological dead end in the future.

    RUSL BicycleRUSL BicycleAcum 9 luni
    • You can easily run COBOL in the clouds today. The problem is NOT the language. The front-end websites that he is talking about are NOT written in COBOL. They crash because of incompetence, not language.

      Jan HertsensJan HertsensAcum 8 luni
  • same issue in Indonesia. with Prakerja sites.

    Oemar BGSOemar BGSAcum 9 luni
  • Interesting video. Do other countries use the cattle approach? And do their governments manage it, or do they outsource that task to a private company like Amazon web services?

    AntonAntonAcum 9 luni
  • Net neutrality?

    Max MMax MAcum 9 luni
  • here's a COBOL Programmer looking at the current scenario and having a sad smile

    Soumyadeep GhoshSoumyadeep GhoshAcum 9 luni
  • The bigger question is: why have other countries managed to get their act together while the US hasn't?

    Daniel WinterDaniel WinterAcum 9 luni