Put yourself in the shoes of an online retailer. Is your website prepared for … Black Friday? Well, Navy Seals have Hell Week and retailers have Black Friday. Both can be traumatic.
Now, as a customer yourself, remember going to a website and finding the dreaded loading loop? At least Amazon has pictures of puppies to entertain us when we miss out on the promised deals. But do you really want to spend time looking at puppies, or simply go to another retailer and find a similar deal?
Peak times + platform crashing = massive revenue loss
During peak season — potentially one of the most lucrative times of the year — poor preparation can be devastating. According to Gartner, network downtime can cost a company about $5,600 per minute. If your system is down for an hour, that is over $330,000. (*Cue nervous breakdown*)
Before you close down shop at the mere thought of that financial hit, don’t panic! There are steps your organization can take to prepare for peak season. Equipping your service team with the right tools and knowledge to quickly respond if something goes wrong is just the start. Read on to find out how to reduce the risk of downtime.
Identify and resolve key performance issues
Testing the performance of your application to identify failure points doesn’t require much effort. Expedite the process by creating automated scripts emulating user test cases. The dev team can then resolve those issues or update the platform to ensure smooth performance when it matters most.
What types of performance testing can you use? Glad you asked! Here’s another resource that may be helpful.
Stress test your application
After identifying and resolving performance issues, stress test your application to observe how it handles prolonged spikes in traffic. You can run controlled tests to simulate varying levels of site requests to mimic a customer’s experience during peak traffic. Make sure to rerun the test by reducing the number of available servers each time. This process predicts how many servers are required to maximize performance and eliminate system bottlenecks.
Implement a Code Freeze
Are you planning to make major changes to your platform … while preparing for peak season? Stop and think about this. Typically, when issues occur, the problem lies in your new code! Don’t give your support team more work troubleshooting new features. In the weeks leading up to peak season, implement a code freeze to ensure stability and allow your team to smoothly handle the increase in traffic.
Minimize Data Volume
You can also prepare your application by minimizing the data volume that is produced during high traffic. Want to learn how?
Turn off any unnecessary logging features that are typically active but not mission critical. This reduces server bottlenecking, allowing critical requests to quickly move through your system.
Thinking about that, it’s rather similar to cholesterol medicine. Clear up those arteries and allow for easy blood flow!
Wait, hold on! Sure, you’ve told me how to reduce the risk of failure. But what if something does happen?
Don’t worry! There are steps you can take to prepare your support team in advance to quickly and effectively handle unexpected issues.
Build in clear and descriptive messages during development. These messages make it easier for your support team to troubleshoot, diagnose, and ultimately resolve problems.
Next, consider having your service analysts review the code during development to ensure they understand a system’s failure points and the error messages associated with those issues.
Finally, use tools that make an error log searchable. This capability gives any analyst the tools they need to search through the log and troubleshoot problems more efficiently.
Leveraging the Cloud-based Services
Here’s the tip you’ve been waiting for…
What if your server does go down?
For those who already are leveraging the cloud, you can account for spikes in traffic and reduce performance issues on the fly. Whether you use Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), focus on enabling your teams to expand capacity on demand for both compute or storage.
These services allow you to pay for only what you use, so you’re not stuck with the cost of building out the extra capacity yourself. It also enables your teams to quickly recover your critical infrastructure when failures do occur.
For those who haven’t made the leap to the cloud yet, consider working with a partner who has extensive experience in the cloud to help migrate your critical workload to an extremely flexible, scalable, and cost-effective platform.
So there you have it, folks! Use these tips to help maximize profit during peak season. Poor preparation cannot be an excuse for revenue loss if you follow these suggestions. Make it a habit to always identify and resolve key performance issues, stress test your application, implement a code freeze during peak season, minimize data volume, use effective messaging, and leverage cloud-based servers. You should be good-to-go during Hell Week … err… Black Friday!
Do you have questions? Are you unsure how to properly prepare your platform or do you need an expert to assist? Be sure to check out KMS Technology’s Maintenance and Support Services.