I really should know better.

Apparently like every other human being in North America who owns an iPhone, I downloaded the iOS 5 upload almost as soon as it became available today. Never mind that it easily took more than four times as long to download as it usually would…I finally got it downloaded to my computer. Trying to install it on the iPhone, however, has so far proven to be an impossibility. See, when you try to install the iOS 5 software, it wants to connect your iPhone to Apple’s servers. And when what’s gotta be tens of thousands of people are trying to do the exact same thing at the exact same time, well…let’s just say this is the sort of thing that, if it were malicious, would be described as a very successful Denial of Service (DoS) attack.

What’s happening is that the installation quits abruptly with an error code (-3200) that’s not even listed on the web page to which Apple directs you after the failure. The solution is simple: wait. Simply wait until the initial rush is over, and all should be good.

The lesson here deals with cloud computing, and its ability to help companies expand their capacity on an as-needed basis at virtually a moment’s notice. Now, Apple knew this was coming, and still apparently underestimated today’s customer tsunami. But while most firms will never have the overwhelming rush of download/install requests that Apple’s experiencing, they may well have peaks of customer traffic that need immediate attention. And, unlike Apple, their customers may not be as understanding; many firms realize that if their online customer goes away unhappy, that customer is not likely to return.

So, we’ll grumble, and Tweet, and wait for the demand avalanche to subside. If I were the folks at 1 Infinite Loop, though, I’d look at what’s happening today, and ask if we can address this situation so that it doesn’t happen again.