Postal service zip code database on Oracel
I had the "luck" of working in a call center serving the United States Postal Service customer service effort.
We had one Very Large Computer that was responsible for retrieving the Zip+4 for any address entered by a customer service rep. They were fielding calls to about 70% of all post offices in the U.S. so the volume was substantial.
I was amazed that even that what seemed like a straightforward function required endless developer visits to keep it running. I even asked: "Does this database do anything else, or is it just the zip codes?"
It was just the zip codes. Left a very poor impression with me.
But you have to admit that's not really Oracle's fault.
You can use a truck to drive to your neighbours*, but does that reflect on the truck or the driver?
<font size="2">*) not in the countryside of, say, Utah, ok?</font>
Without more backgroumd it is hard to tell whether this is a problem with Oracle or not. Given the fact that one box services nearly 70% of all post office zipcode lookups, I think the bigger WTF is that there is no clustering / load-balancing. I'd hope that there is atleast some sort of passive fail-over setup, but who knows.