Two Words for the Holiday Rush: Adequate Capacity
November 17, 2014

Scott Hollis

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Depending upon your specific industry, the holiday rush can account for 75% – 85% of your total revenue. You cannot be caught unprepared and your systems have to be able to handle the surge in traffic. So how do you make sure your systems are not going to let you down?

Two words, adequate capacity. Capacity is the #1 reason for service degradation or failure.

Start with historical data. What was the load on your systems last year? This will probably give you the best baseline and starting point.

Now estimate how and why that will change this year. Do you have a blockbuster toy? Or are you offering the iPhone 6 at significant discount? Have you launched a massive marketing campaign or is the marketing group planning something new? Whatever it is, understand how that will impact your demand and how long the additional demand can be expected to last. Make sure you provision for it.

Harness the clouds. You certainly do not want to carry excess capacity all year round, just for this one day or a relatively short time period. Reach out for on-demand capacity from a public or private cloud provider. Run synthetic transactions using your APM tools to ensure your infrastructure will not fold under pressure. Use cloud bursting for as long as needed and dial down as you notice decline in demand. As you move your services to and from the cloud, remember, the location of your services should be transparent to the customers.

Unified monitoring tools can manage your services whether they are running on your local infrastructure, on your private cloud or even a third party public cloud. When issues happen (yes – "when" not "if") you can quickly identify the root cause and get a rapid resolution, hopefully well before the customer is impacted.

You want your customers to be able to access your site and more importantly, you want them to be able transact business while they are there. Make it easy for them and less of a headache for you and your organization.

Scott Hollis is Director of Product Marketing for Zenoss.

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