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At 6.1 million hits Supercharged GoSeeAustralia calls on a computer that changed our world

August 08, 2006
At 6.1 million hits Supercharged GoSeeAustralia calls on a computer that changed our world

In 1949 Australia got its first computer designed and built in Australia, named CSIRAC it is stored at Melbourne Museum and is the only intact first generation computer left on the planet.

CSIRAC is named after the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (later CSIRO) which built the machine in 1949 it was the fourth built in the world and weighed a couple of tonnes. CSIRAC sucked enough electricity to power an entire suburban street but innovative Australia was the third nation after Britain and America to enter the digital computer age.

GrahamWallace, Manager of GoSeeAustralia,is fascinated by the world of computer technology so as GoSeeAustralia reached 6.1 million hits for the 31 days from June 30 to July 31he visited Melbourne Museum to compare our technology of today to that of the past.

In July visitors to GoSeeAustralia requested 583,776 pages for an average of 18,831 a day. User growth on GoSeeAustralia is astonishing when compared with 42,578 pages served to visitors soon after it went Online in the month of July 2004.

But Australiansare famed for their ability to innovate and CSIRAC and ContACT/GoSeeAustralia share Australia's have a go heritage.CSIRACwas largely the brainchild of Trevor Pearcey, a physicist who worked on advanced radar systems in Britain during the Second World War. The lack of international communication systems at the time meant the developments in Australia were independent of those in the northern hemisphere.

CSIRAC command console with teletype terminals and Racks BehindCSIRAC's ability to play music also helps ensure its place in computing history. The first tunes were played between 1951 and 1953, and these are now believed to be the earliest played on a computer anywhere in the world.

CSIRAC was in operation from 1949 until 1964. By the time it was turned off in 1964, it was the oldest working computer in the world. Data stored was stored as pulses in tubes filled with mercury. As the pulses traveled slower through the mercury then the computers circuitry, this caused the delay to ensure data was stored until needed. This Mercury delay line only worked when CSIRAC was turned on. This data storage capacity is about 2000bytes.

CSIRAC had a processor speed of between 500 and 1000 Hz. Data computation requests were feed to it by tape and its output was also by tape.

CSIRAC RacksIn comparison the GoSeeAustralia Web site is operated from ContACT Internet's latest machines the latest IBM xSeries eServers 345 and 346 modelmachines which were first built in 2004 and 2006, some 55 years after CSIRAC. They can store up to4000000000 bytes in memory in order to process requests at exceptional speeds.

GoSeeAustralia's Supercharged processing engine is run by four 3.0GHz Dual-Core Intel Xeon processors. This extreme power along with consistently large available bandwidth, that is outgoing pipes connected to the server, all assist in providing GoSeeAustralia users with the speed they enjoy.

The speed of the World Wide Web, hence the user experience, is based on a number of simple factors.

  • The size of the Web site. How large the files and pictures are to be download.
  • The size of the available bandwidth. How big the pipes between the user and server are.
  • The grunt of the server to process requests. Is it a 4 cylinder or V8 engine under the hood?
  • The grunt of the users machine to render the graphics and files.

CSIRAC Racks take up a large areaThe GoSeeAustralia teamhasbuilt thewebsite to an optimum level for fast downloads by all.

ContACT Internet Solutions Pty Ltd, GoSeeAustralias hosting provider, has strategies in place to ensure that the GoSeeAustralia Web site will always enjoy the bandwidth and grunt needed to process and send the Web site requests for pages.

The current GoSeeAustralia Web site with over 2,700 parks, 22,000 tours and attractions and the ever growing number of products, services and information articles would be stored on countless numbers of tapes should someone try to write such a program for CSIRAC. In fact an attempt to print out every page of GoSeeAustralia wouldrequiremore thanseven reams of paper. This data is an invaluable tool for those seeking information on caravan parks, caravanning and travel by carinAustralia.

GoSeeAustralia Eserver PowerCSIRAC was stored in a room ventilated from under the floor. When the room temperature reached the high 30s the computer became unreliable and was switched off. In comparison GoSeeAustralia can work in a environment of 10 30C. It is, however,operated out of a secure data centre with constant air-conditioning, battery and generator backup.

ContACT Internet Solutions, home to GoSeeAustralia, relies on Equinix as its data centre provider. ContACT's business analysis shows Equinix is the leading global provider of network neutral data centres. Equinixs customers include: (Networks) Telstra, Optus, Japan Telecom and France Telecom. (Global enterprises, service providers and content companies) IBM, Google, Yahoo and America Online.

All mission critical elements (battery/generator backups, climate control, backbone trunks, security) are available through the Equinix data centre.ContACTs services benefit through a greater choice of leading Internet backbone providers.

This also provides more redundancy and greater data storage space. Equinix has N+1 redundancy throughout to ensure reliability.

The GoSeeAustralia server has multiple internal power supplies, memory, hard drives and CPU which allow themachines to continue working despite failure of individual components This redundancy and security ensure the GoSeeAustralia website is secure and can be relied upon as a resource.

ContACT has been involved in the software development and web design industry, predominantly in the tourism market for nine years. The website hosting, Internet advertising and design service was established on March 3, 1997.

GoSeeAustralia, the biggest caravan park and caravanning directory in Australia was produced by ContACT designers to work for the industry and people travelling Australia in caravan parks.

Active web applications have been developed on request for a large number of tourism operators and bodies.
ContACT has successfully implemented Secure Online Ordering, Booking systems, calendars, bulletin boards, search functions, password login for members' areas and database integration for the display of member data plus website with Online edit and update facilities for operators.

For Business Critical Website Hosting, some of the ConACT Level 1 hosting features include:
Tier 1 optic fibre backbone - 200MB per second download
Reliability to ensure website and business critical applications stay available
Major data centre security
Fail safe backups with UPS power generator
Multiple data trunks to Telstra and Optus
Reliable equipment with state of art IBM servers each with duplicated facilities for fail resistant

For Cost Effective Website Hosting, some of the ContACT Level 2 hosting features include:
Tier 2 optic fibre backbone - 50MB per second download
Reliability to ensure website applications stay available
Reliable equipment with duplicated facilities to reduce down time
The result is ContACT provides professional quality work at reasonable prices.

CSIRAC GoSeeAustralia Server
Processor Speed 500-1000Hz 12 000 000 000 Hz (4 x 3GHz)
Memory Capacity 2000 bytes 4,000,000,000 bytes (4GB)
Size 40 sq m 0.013 sq m
Weight 2500 kg approx 15 kg
Power Consumption 30 000 watts 645 watts
Technology 2000 valves microchip equivalent to millions of valves

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