Thousands of simultaneous download requests have forced Microsoft to temporarily stop the Windows 7 download process until more resources are brought in to provide a much improved quality of service.
Since yesterday evening, many have tried to access the official Windows 7 homepage and/or the official download link without success, either ending with a timeout or a server error, both signs that the infrastructure is struggling.
As of this morning, Microsoft has published a statement on its Windows 7 main page saying "Thanks for your interest in the Windows 7 Beta. The volume has been phenomenal—we're in the process of adding more servers to handle the demand. We're sorry for the delay and we'll re-post the Beta as soon as we can ensure a quality download experience."
Clearly trying to send more than 7 Petabyte worth of data worldwide even through hundreds of servers was going to be a mind-boggling and resource-hungry process. Some have suggest that Microsoft should have used BitTorrent (or even a third party like Rapidshare) to handle the distribution of Windows 7 Beta.
There was also another issue that plagued the early beta release of Windows 7; according to some comments, the servers that dealt with handing out valid product keys for Windows 7 were also down; no words about how many, out of the 2.5 million valid keys to be ditched out, are left.
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Microsoft has been guilty of grossly underestimating the demand (and curiosity factor) that a free Windows 7 Beta offer would attract worldwide. Using Windows 7 without the appropriate keys will force the OS into limited functionality mode after 30 days; the beta expires on the 1st of August 2009 by the way.
(Windows Team Blog)
Microsoft Overwhelmed By Demand, Delays Windows 7 Beta Download