Our abysmal download success rates

As you can see from the graph below, our download rates for our DVD ISO are abysmal. Only about 22% of all users who start downloading the ISO complete the download. We gotta do better about this. Interestingly, we don’t get a lot of complaints about this. but this has got to be a huge problem. We need to fix this. Do you have suggestions on how we should do this?

Here are cumulative numbers:

Download URIAttemptCompleted% CompletedNot Completed% Not Completed

and here are the breakdowns by day:

Feb CTP ISO success ISO failure % success
2/22/2006 Wed 770 470 0.38
2/23/2006 Thu 1170 13220 0.08
2/24/2006 Fri 620 420 0.60
2/25/2006 Sat 410 500 0.45
2/26/2006 Sun 370 450 0.45
2/27/2006 Mon 520 440 0.54
2/28/2006 Tue 590 530 0.53
3/1/2006 Wed 520 640 0.45
3/2/2006 Thu 520 2870 0.15
3/3/2006 Fri 450 1590 0.22
3/4/2006 Sat 280 4520 0.06
3/5/2006 Sun 240 270 0.40
3/6/2006 Mon 360 700 0.34
3/7/2006 Tue 280 210 0.57
3/8/2006 Wed 280 420 0.40
3/9/2006 Thu 280 340 0.45
TOTAL 7660 27590 0.22

Frankly, the numbers on Feb. 23rd are a real embarassment, and we need to get better in finding out why the downloads fail, and what we can do to make this better.

Comments (15)

  1. TravisOwens says:

    As a user, I can tell you sometimes I’m just curious about getting something, and when the speed isn’t as fast as I want, I’ll decide it’s not worth the long DL time.

    I’m guessing this attitude is fairly common as I’m sure most people grad tho CTPs just to "check it out" and aren’t getting it to run compatibility tests or report bugs.

  2. bigbrains says:

    One word… BitTorrent

  3. Jonathan Payne says:

    Are these rates typical for other large downloads or is it just this particular one?

  4. cs says:

    Ditto: USE BIT TORRENT! MS is too much of wimp to use something like that though. Then they’d have to admit someone did something better than them.

  5. MSDNArchive says:

    BitTorrent is actually a really intriguing idea. I’d imagine there are some security issues around BitTorrenting formal Microsoft files. The rules around Trustworthy Computing are pretty strict, and I think they might work against using BitTorrent. But I use BT, and really like the paradigm of how it works.

    I’ll research if we can use it and post what my results are.

  6. Kris says:

    Doubt if Bittorent is viable for commercial software delivery, but why not come up with your version of download tool which connects to multiple servers geographically distributed hosted by MS and do simultaneous downloads – with propery recovery mechanism.

  7. MSDNArchive says:

    Jonathan: we’re actually pretty unique, since there are very few products that post as extremely large (1.2 GB) DVD ISOs. I can tell you that the download success numbers for the Feb CTP are substantially lower than those for the Dec or Jan CTPs:

    Dec CTP: 47% success

    Jan CTP: 37% success

    Feb CTP: 21% success

    We can’t continue this downward trend moving into the Beta 2. Our users have to have more success moving forward, not less.

  8. Senkwe says:

    In my case, I haven’t bothered yet simply because all I’m experimenting with at the moment is WPF. Since I have EID, MSBuild, VC# Express and MSDN documentation, I don’t really need the entire Windows SDK badly.

  9. bigbrains says:

    Several companies are using the bittorent paradigm for software distribution.  Most notably is patch delivery from Blizzard for WoW.

    Red Hat and other Linux distro’s have been using it for a while.

  10. MSDNArchive says:

    Bigbrains: true, of course, but Microsoft doesn’t use the BT paradigm at this point – at least that I’m aware of.

  11. Gabe says:

    I would agree with Travis, slow DL speeds have to be a big part of failed/cancled DL’s.

  12. cs says:

    Since many BT clients are open source it shouldn’t be too hard for MS to adapt it.  And companies ARE using BT for delivering content as bigbrains mentioned.

  13. Paul Edwards says:

    Does downloading in parts not have anything to do with the figures…

  14. Will Sullivan says:

    Aye, bittorrent.  Have multiple servers @ different MS offices across the globe be seeding 24/7, so even if none of the downloaders seed you’ll still be providing a stable download rate…