Monday, June 30, 2008

Theo Schlossnagle - Traffic spikes through the heart of your app

Theo Schlossnagle's blog is a very interesting read indeed.
What isn't entirely obvious in the above graphs? These spikes happen inside 60 seconds. The idea of provisioning more servers (virtual or not) is unrealistic. Even in a cloud computing system, getting new system images up and integrated in 60 seconds is pushing the envelope and that would assume a zero second response time. This means it is about time to adjust what our systems architecture should support. The old rule of 70% utilization accommodating an unexpected 40% increase in traffic is unraveling. At least eight times in the past month, we've experienced from 100% to 1000% sudden increases in traffic across many of our clients.
That's something to think about.

One likes to think that cloud computing is the silver bullet for scalability - use their stuff, build a system that assumes scale, and no worries, mate. But this makes it clear that there are basic operational issues that need to be kept in mind. Doing it manually may not cut it.

Amazon for example provides no tools for handling traffic increases automatically. It's your job to monitor and kick off new instances. But if this is happening in a matter of 60 seconds, you'd better be very sure you know what to do, and quickly.

Personally, I've never had to deal with this, so I have no tips for you. If I were to start up a new site, I'd go find people who do and have a long talk with them.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Alexa Internet, is a California-based subsidiary company of Amazon.com that is best known for operating a website that provides information on the web traffic to other websites.
Alexa collects information from users who have installed an “Alexa Toolbar,” allowing them to provide statistics on web site traffic, as well as lists of related links. It uses these data to form Alexa ranking. There is some controversy over how representative Alexa’s user base is of typical Internet behavior. If Alexa’s user base is a fair statistical sample of the internet user population, Alexa’s ranking should be quite accurate. A known source of bias is the self-selecting, opt-in nature of Alexa traffic tracking software installation, but the significance of this bias on rankings is not reported. Alexa ranking measures traffic ranking collected from Alexa toolbar users. High alexa ranking has no relationship with high google ranking, yahoo ranking, and etc.
Ranking in Alexa is significant as it can significantly increase your bargaining power when it comes to selling advertising on your site. If advertisers see that your site has a higher ranking, they are likely to think that they can sell more of their products and services by having a link on your site. This means that you can charge them higher fees for that link.