back to article Remember when Europe’s entire Galileo satellite system fell over last summer? No you don’t. The official stats reveal it never happened

It was a devastating blow to the credibility of Europe’s Galileo satellite project: the navigation system fell over during an upgrade in July, requiring a reboot that took six days. Now it appears it officially never happened. Billions of organizations, individuals, phones, gizmos, apps, and so on, across the globe simply …

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  1. jrd

    WTF?

    Hold on - are they really saying the availability target for a GPS system is 75%?

    I would imagine most users would be expecting something closer to 99.99%.

    Especially if you're using it to navigate aircraft and the like.

    If I had a ballpoint pen that only worked 75% of the time, I'd throw it away.

    1. KittenHuffer Silver badge

      Re: WTF?

      This is what you get when the people responsible for keep the system up and running gets to write their own SLA! Of course they're gonna set the bar low enough that even when they fsck up their bonuses are still ensured.

    2. Idy

      Re: WTF?

      Not only that, but being HAPPY that it met 75%!

      Sure you might have arranged a lovely 75% figure in your KPI reports, but that doesn't mean you should be aiming for that.

    3. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: WTF?

      Actually, sorry, it's 77%. Not 75%. Small difference but important to get right.

      C.

      1. Tom7

        Re: WTF?

        Ah, yes, the vaunted "two sevens" reliability standard.

        1. bazza Silver badge

          Re: WTF?

          Nothing wrong with that. Some of my code just about manages to get there...

      2. macjules Silver badge

        Re: WTF?

        As a yardstick measure, does anyone know what the SLA is on the Starfleet Command United States Space Force GPS system?

        1. hplasm Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: WTF?

          Bi percent. tThe biggest. Bigly available.

        2. bazza Silver badge

          Re: WTF?

          Dunno what the SLA is, but the service up-time is pretty much 100% thus far. I suspect that most of the "problems" encountered with GPS are external to the system (jammers / spoofer in particular).

        3. Claptrap314 Silver badge

          Re: WTF?

          During war or outside it? Oh, and please define "war". https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quasi-War

          1. Loatesy

            Re: WTF?

            "Re: WTF?

            During war or outside it? Oh, and please define "war". https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quasi-War"

            War: A police action but with larger and more well-known cast and a bigger budget. Often confused with Regime Change which is essentially a one-man insurgency.

            Insurgency: A mini police action (or larger regime change) involving filthy unwashed savages (AKA porr people) and a Slash'n'Burn foreign policy involving giving million dollar-pound contracts to your own bezzies.

    4. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

      Re: WTF?

      In a previous job, we had various SLAs. Most systems were on "5 9s" (99.999%). Some less important systems were 99%. One particular system, known to be less reliable but also less important, was given a very low bar to meet: 95%.

      77% would have lost any of us our bonus, even for a system we knew was going to fall over regularly.

      On top of this, all of them had terms in the SLA which measured the length of any one period of down time, as well as ones dealing with both average and per incident downtime on individual machines within the system.

      The people who wrote the SLAs have certainly set themselves an incredibly low bar...

      1. rmason

        Re: WTF?

        MY bonus is related to the performance of the company, not of my department.

        So If I provided *any* system with an uptime of below 80% my / our bonus would be safe. Assuming that badly performing system didn't affect the performance of the company that is.

        Yes, my bonus would be entirely safe. I would however lose my job which, last time I checked, did affect my bonus payment.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: WTF?

        "On top of this, all of them had terms in the SLA which measured the length of any one period of down time, as well as ones dealing with both average and per incident downtime on individual machines within the system."

        On one customer I had, any breached SLA would trigger a counter, by which you HAD to get back the said SLA in order for a number of months or face an early contract termination with no penalty.

        Clearly, ESA doesn't play in the same play field !

      3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: WTF?

        "The people who wrote the SLAs have certainly set themselves an incredibly low bar."

        This isn't a bar, it's a trip hazard.

        1. Psmo Silver badge

          Re: WTF?

          Thanks for the chuckle. Noted for a future conversation.

        2. Dazed and Confused Silver badge

          Re: WTF?

          Perhaps that explains the downtime.

          The whole systems tripped over the low level SLA someone left lying around on the floor.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: WTF?

        In my place it's irrelevant what our SLAs say. The Drama Phone rings and we get shouted at the instant there's an outage, and it doesn't stop until everything is working again...

        1. Dazed and Confused Silver badge

          Re: WTF?

          It stops then?

          What do you do, take the phone of the hook?

          In my experience the phone still rings for ages after the problems fixed.

      5. Unicornpiss Silver badge
        Flame

        Re: WTF?

        77% is a "C+" average in USA schools, or basically a "You're doing alright, but there's much room for improvement." But don't expect to be an astronaut. Or doctor or engineer (at least not a good one) However, you still may have a future on a L1 Helpdesk, in the burger n' fries industry, or as a reality TV star and/or self-serving, megalomaniac, cuntish world leader. Your success is only limited by how mercenary you are, how little scruples you have, and how willing you are to get ahead by treading on other people's backs.

    5. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

      Re: WTF?

      If I had a ballpoint pen that only worked 75% of the time, I'd throw it away.

      Unless you'd paid so much money for it that it would be a huge public embarrassment for it to be seen to be less than great. Then you'd find some excuse, and make out like your pen was fine all along.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: WTF?

        More likely you'd take t to wherever you bought it and demand your money back. Loudly enough for any other customers to hear.

    6. Trygve Henriksen
      Coat

      Re: WTF?

      I'm leftanded, so ball-point pens have 75% or less reliability.

      Which is why I prefer felt-tip pens...

      Mine's the one with maps and a compass in the pocket...

      1. S4qFBxkFFg
        Joke

        Re: WTF?

        "I'm leftanded, so ball-point pens have 75% or less reliability."

        You're obviously writing in the wrong direction; several years ago, with a broken shoulder, I tried going left-handed for writing - the results were predictably terrible. However, changing to right-to-left writing sorted it (and was surprisingly easy).

        The fact that all the letters were backwards was a minor inconvenience.

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: WTF?

          Holding it wrong.

        2. atheist

          Re: WTF?

          I too like my tip being felt. Roller ball's too.

        3. Trygve Henriksen

          Re: WTF?

          If I write something, I usually do it because I want someone to read it. and right-to-left writing tends to confuse people.

          I prefer felt-tip because when you write left-to-right with your left hand, you're pushing against the paper with the pen, and that really fucks up the ball of ball-points.

        4. mickaroo

          Re: WTF?

          You're obviously not a professional lefty...

          You turn the page upside down and write right-to-left with the letters inverted.

          When you turn the page right-way-up, everything is just dandy.

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

      3. Siberian Hamster

        Re: WTF?

        Trygve Henriksen

        Reply Icon

        Coat

        Re: WTF?

        I'm leftanded, so ball-point pens have 75% or less reliability.

        Which is why I prefer felt-tip pens...

        Mine's the one with maps and a compass in the pocket...

        Those who downvoted this please enlighten me, I have no idea why anyone would be so enraged by this post feel the need to downvote it.

        I am genuinely interested.

        Thanks

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: WTF?

          Do you imagine that upvotes and downvotes are somehow important t?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: WTF?

          да забей, делов-то

        3. Trygve Henriksen

          Re: WTF?

          Assholes will be assholes. Simple as that.

          Now, if this site let us see who up or downvoted posts...

          I do believe that only a coward and sleazebag will ever downvote without posting the reason for it.

    7. Danny 5

      Re: WTF?

      First thing that came to mind!

      I'm an Exchange engineer, I manage a couple on prem environments. My availability targets range from 95% (cheap customer that didn't want full redundancy) and 99.9% (fully redundant, split datacenter, multiple lines per datacenter, full DAG, multiple databases copies, you name it), 77% is utterly ridiculous for a system like that.

      1. Dabooka

        Re: WTF?

        77% is poor for Northern Rail.

        The more I read of stuff like this the more I think we're possibly better off out of the project anyway.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: WTF?

          77% is poor an aspiration for Northern Rail.

          FTFY

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: WTF?

          But considered the stuff of dreams for southern rail...

      2. Peter2 Silver badge

        Re: WTF?

        I manage an Exchange box set up by a chimp, ignoring hardware requirements, best practice and common sense with zero redundancy.

        It has had 4 hours downtime in the last year, which is 99.95% availability.

        99.9% reliability allows 8h 45m 57s downtime a year, and I think that's absurdly low point to aim for. But yeah, 77%? That's a different universe.

    8. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: WTF?

      The system should have 99.9+ reliability...

      Each individual satellite might have lower - but 75% does still seem very low (unless they have decided that they can't measure it over the pacific, so they'll just assume that it's down...

      (Note I've not actually read the report yet)

      1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

        Re: WTF?

        hmm but the article mentioned the issue was on land rather than with the satelittes!

        1. Evil Auditor Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: WTF?

          Doesn't matter where the problem was/is, it us the same principle. Remember RAID? For Galileo they probably developed nsRAED: not so Redundant Array of Expensive Devices.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: WTF?

        unless they have decided that they can't measure it over the pacific, so they'll just assume that it's down...

        Saying something is down just because you can't monitor it is dishonest. I prefer to use accurate statistics. The number of confirmed faults was only 1 all year.

        I can't help but think of my university IT department. It was well known that it took 15+ minutes to log on to university computers (even quad cores with 16GB RAM). At certain times of the week logging in could take over an hour. The problem had probably been reported individually by pretty much every lecturer at least once, as well as numerous students, with all tickets closed as "unable to reproduce".

        The school of computing actually enacted an autonomy clause in the regulations so they could take over complete management of several computing labs not used by other courses, and install their own windows images that did not have the problem. It had apparently been that way for at least 2 years by the time I opened a support ticket myself "to add to the ticket count" and the ticket was again closed as unable to reproduce.

        I re-opened the ticket with words to the effect of "Please walk to any lab, lecture theatre or classroom and try logging in yourself before closing the ticket", the response came the following week in the form of a university-wide email about a recently discovered issue with slow logins... I suspect their end of year report stated that they only had 1 confirmed performance-impacting issue.

    9. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

      Re: WTF?

      Imagine if your attendance for your job was 75%.

      You'd be either be on the dole or working in the public sector.

      1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

        Re: WTF?

        Somebody on long term sick from their public sector job has downvoted my comment.

        I didn't see that coming...

        1. gypsythief

          Re: WTF?

          I can't figure out what to say to this. Ah, you're not worth it.

        2. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

          Re: WTF?

          This is amazing. In response to this comment, some lunatic has gone through the last three months of my old posts and downvoted them all. That's incredible commitment to being insane.

      2. Pirate Dave
        Pirate

        Re: WTF?

        " working in the public sector."

        Where your job would be drawing the charts for reports that praise 77% uptime.

      3. PeterKr

        Re: WTF?

        According to my old boss, I have 71% attendence (5/7). That's the reason why they don't like giving reasonable amounts of vacation time.

    10. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: WTF?

      Remember, it's still in beta. So what would be nice to know, and is not said here: will this be the production target too, or is it only the target during the beta, while the constellation is still incomplete?

      1. David Shaw

        Re: WTF?

        I'm not sure when the Galileo beta ends - but there was a sensible Q BTL about GPS and the availability targets of GNSS as a whole.

        A few years ago , when we all just relied on the impressive GPS space vehicles and their civ SPOF L1 frequency, I was able to demonstrate in a scientific paper turning off the ████████ nuclear ████████ at ████████ by use of a ████████ banana. Then I was able to ████████ disable the entire country of ████████ by ████████ ████████ ████████ and that GPS banana.

        So I'm quite happy with anything other than SPOF (single point of failure), roll on Brexit-sat-UK-nav and all, and I'd like all the historic time/signal/nav's restored too, as backup-backup, and Droitwich moved back 2KHz HF, etc etc

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