Added: Tamela Reider - Date: 05.09.2021 19:54 - Views: 39911 - Clicks: 1083
Hi Everyone! After the most recent installment of the sale yesterday I had a great chat with the men behind the website to get a feel for what they learned from last time, what they improved and what still needs improvement. The last Hoxton Hotel sale was a great success from an In hotel looking for loads marketing perspective. We featured the story as an impressive way for a brand that is not really an online brand to truly establish themselves online. Not bad! However, last go around was certainly not all sunshine and unicorns and we talked extensively about the negative and unanticipated side effects.
This year it would seem as though the Hoxton Hotel and their marketing department learned from a few of these errors covered extensively in this post from this morning but perhaps the most exciting lessons were those from the team at Codegent and how to cope with the massive traffic spike they saw.
It is safe to say that the gang took their task very seriously after a handful of complaints and a healthy serving of abuse last time around and definitely took care of their end of the bargain. The codegent portion of the site is effectively the role of getting everyone to the starting line and ensuring that there is no false start. This task may not sound difficult but to do so in In hotel looking for loads environment that keeps users entertained and engaged and also to keep everyone in order and happy is not an easy task as any starter from a large horse race or marathon field would attest.
During the January sale, the site toppled quite rapidly after the rush of people started coming in to the site. After seeing the sorts of lo the servers were going to need to handle simply after the first newsletter mailout about the sale the gang decided they were going to move away from a basic Apache server. Codegent moved the site over from an Apache server solution to something slightly newer and lightweight in time for the first sale. Despite the planning and efforts that went in to preparing for the server side load issues with the of concurrent requests almost all traditional servers would fail.
Effectively — the type of lo and requests the site is looking at at an exact moment in time makes a Digg spike look like an absolute joke. In an effort to tackle these server issues Mark and Aidan made use of Amazon Simple Storage Service S3 with Amazon Cloudfront on the front-end for the content delivery. The problem they overlooked, however, was the fact that although GAE is built to handle API calls, it is not deed to handle more than requests per second. As GAE is deed to shut out users no matter how much money you charge up your with if it believes it is under attack they will cut you off and cap you at the maximum free level of requests.
There is no doubt that this many requests is basically a denial of service attack — by invitation — so it is not surprising that Google would protect themselves and their clients in this way. In addition to the issues with GAE, unfortunately Cloudfront changes can also take as long as 20 minutes to be updated.
Therefore, when the site came down the necessary changes to the site meant more waiting time for eager and easily angered customers. The point that many of these people missed out on, however, was the fact that simply scaling up a Ruby on Rails solution would not have handled the of requests in question. There are very few developers or webmasters who are likely to experience a rush through the gates like this.
I suspect the likes of TicketMaster and other distributors may have seen something similar when tickets to a major gig are released, but outside of the ticketing industry there are probably very few sites with remote or internal hosting solutions deed to handle this.
When preparing for the next round of the sale the team at Codegent knew that they would be under a lot of pressure — though from the sound of things their competitive nature and desire to prove people wrong might have been enough. They knew they had some serious lessons that need to be learned and solved quickly. Undoubtedly, the downtime was the biggest concern.
The team decided quite quickly that Cloudfront was far too dangerous and took way too long to update if something went wrong. As a result, Cloudfront was the first thing ruled out of the new solution. As a result of the oversight on the January sale, they felt it was better to test out what sort of lo S3 could take — so they spent time testing an array of servers to try and find a thresh hold. After reaching 40, requests per second without toppling their service they figured it would probably be up to the task — bearing in mind that they wanted a high of requests whilst still switching the content beneath.
Undoubtedly, the server solution alone was somewhat irrelevant if they could not also find ways to ensure that they could not be cut off instantly if Google was unhappy with the of requests. They used a single call and 3 different buckets with in Amazon S3 one in Ireland, one in California and one in Virginia to handle the gradual increase of traffic.
S3 Load Testing. As for the countdown clocks, rather than relying strictly on GAE, they ran one off of Google App Engine and one off a Ruby solution as a back-up Heroku. Finally, they also had an Amazon loop on each of the three buckets in case the other two clocks die. In addition to dealing with the of requests required to cope with the clocks using fail-over redundancy they also added another layer.
This time around Luke and Aidan decided to In hotel looking for loads the clock with a session cookie that also would look at the clock on the PC and see how far off of their central clock was the clock that determines when the sale goes live. The time on the countdown was therefore running on the cookie and this difference rather than multiple requests. In addition to keeping the session cookies unique and differing by milliseconds a small element of these requests were staggered. Requiring the user to click and thus adding a human element, helped space out the flood of users a few additional seconds rather than dropping them all into the booking engine at the identical millisecond.
The last step for the Codegent team was to provide the user with a link served through a GAE call to the booking engine and send them on their way. The first of these links send users to the Flash version of the booking engine and, after 8 minutes, the links generated sent users to the HTML version of the booking engine to help share the lo for iHotelier a bit further.
Any of you who follow me on Twitter will know that I was a bit frustrated with my overall experience.
However, as addressed in the post this morning, my grievances all occurred within the booking engine. There were a of issues with the booking engine perhaps most notably when a user got through to the final stage, entered their credit card details, and only then were told that there were no rooms available on that date for that pricebut I will save those complaints for another day. What I find most interesting about these drastic changes that Codegent was able to include just three months down the line. They dealt with a complex problem and executed their end of the bargain exceptionally their side of the site never broke down and they effectively sent people the link required to give them access to the booking engine.
I want to share the lessons and missed opportunities from a marketing perspective below, but I also wanted to highlight the creative solution these guys came up with. I love hearing about this sort of thing and think that most people will have overlooked the fact that this is not a Digg spike! With this many requests there are bound to be problems, but there are creative solutions within these problems as well. There is no doubt that there will be complaints about the overall event, and there probably should be, but at least part of the puzzle is coming together.
Therfore, the wheels fell off. Lesson 1: A single point of failure is a BAD idea.
Lesson 3: Do not plan for your most potent day; it is your most potent second that you need to prepare for. Nuts and Bolts of the April Solution When preparing for the next round of the sale the team at Codegent knew that they would be under a lot of pressure — though from the sound of things their competitive nature and desire to prove people wrong might have been enough.
How to Deal with the Server Issues?
Getting Rid of a Single Fail-Point — and Not Believing the Hype Undoubtedly, the server solution alone was somewhat irrelevant if they could not also find ways to ensure that they could not be cut off instantly if Google was unhappy with the of requests. Spreading the Load In addition to dealing with the of requests required to cope with the clocks using fail-over redundancy they also added another layer.
The to this Point Any of you who follow me on Twitter will know that I was a bit frustrated with my overall experience. Written By. Find out more about Sam. Latest Post from Sam. Want to read articles similar to this?
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