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Are Bandwidth Problems This Year’s Grinch?
E-commerce sites prepare for the holiday rush
by KathrynV 01:01PM Saturday Oct 20 2007
During the holidays, stores are jam-packed with customers and businesses have to prepare by hiring extra holiday help. The same idea serves true for the online version of those stores which see a boost in traffic during this time of year. Major sites (including Best Buy and Amazon) suffered outages last year because they were unprepared for the onslaught of holiday traffic. Trying to prevent that problem from occurring again this year, big and small companies alike are looking at what they can do to boost their bandwidth and handle the flow of customers. This preparation is centered on finding ways to balance a customer’s desire for a quick response time with their interest in multi-media and interactive activity on the site. Sites want to provide dynamic feedback to the customer (think Amazon’s “customers who bought this also bought”) without slowing down the system. This means looking at bandwidth, processing power, and software options.

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exocet_cm
Free at last, free at last
Premium
join:2003-03-23
New Orleans, LA
kudos:3

Maybe It Is

I don't believe the increased numbers of individuals possessing a high speed internet connection is the cause of bandwidth problems (see: Net Neutrality and Traffic Shaping) but, like the article suggests, the companies that advertise "ease of use" and "shop without leaving your home" are going to get slammed because their data connections aren't large enough to handle the traffic.

I would think, and hope, that these companies have been preparing for the rush of digital shoppers since the previous holiday season. Co-lo business servers, even temporarily, increasing the pipe to these businesses, etc... would help solve the problem in my opinion.

I also think that some companies have a "If it works then don't fix it" mentality, running servers (true story as I have seen it) with Dual P3 processors and then the server gets slammed because the IT administration failed to upgrade to something faster.
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FFH5
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

Re: Maybe It Is

said by exocet_cm:

I would think, and hope, that these companies have been preparing for the rush of digital shoppers since the previous holiday season. Co-lo business servers, even temporarily, increasing the pipe to these businesses, etc... would help solve the problem in my opinion.
They got burnt last year because so many people waited until the last week or two before Christmas to shop. And then the sites got flooded with a last minute barrage of customers. The key to providing the bandwidth without costing them an arm and leg the rest of the year is to get what bandwidth they need on a short term contract. But the bandwidth providers will charge much much more for a short term deal. So, it is a balancing act of getting more bandwidth without running up their costs for a long period of time when it isn't needed.
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Lagz
Premium
join:2000-09-03
The Rock

1 edit

1 recommendation

Re: Maybe It Is (all the flash and scripts they throw at you)

Click for full size
I wonder why they have traffic issues?
I thought it wasnt a server issue but rather a traffic one.
With all the ads(flash and scripted) they throw in your face it leaves little wonder why they have issues.
Maggs
Premium
join:2002-11-29
Woodside, NY

Dual P3s can work

Just not for long. You could load balance or just make one huge virtual server with a couple of boxes.
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exocet_cm
Free at last, free at last
Premium
join:2003-03-23
New Orleans, LA
kudos:3

Re: Dual P3s can work

said by Maggs:

Just not for long. You could load balance or just make one huge virtual server with a couple of boxes.
It is a fine line. I've seen it work more times than fail, but when it fails it sucks.

Now load balancing on multiple servers instead of a stand-alone server would work very well.
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wdoa

join:2001-10-16
Spencer, MA

1 recommendation

Retail equals doing everything on the cheap

Having worked in retail and having been a customer one thing is true of almost all retailers, they try to do it on the cheap. On some things retailers get away with this, but on IT it often comes to bite them in the rear. See the recent issues with identity theft and the like. They pay their IT staffs garbage and and don't budget for updated equipment then surprise surprise it all comes tumbling down. This is especially true for brick and mortar stores that also have web presence.

mdlthomas

join:2000-04-24
Clarksville, TN

Why not Host

If you create a virtual server, and put it in a Level 1 hosting facility, most of the time they have LOTS of bandwidth. I doubt Amazon wants to buy a gigabit connection to the internet, but hosting facilities like AT&T, Level 3, etc have plenty