LinuxMonth: Can You Handle the Traffic? – Part 1

“On February 14, 1998, Valentine’s Day, America’s largest
reseller of flowers, FTD, with the help of their new online web
site, FTD.com, was on its way to a record breaking day of flower
sales. However, by day’s end, millions of dollars of revenue had
been lost due to a slow and unresponsive web site. In the early
morning hours the web site was doing fine, but as the day
progressed, more and more traffic congested the site. By 10:00am,
the site had slowed down to an unusable state. Transactions were
taking more than 30 seconds to respond, often not responding at
all. Within an hour, the web site was completely unreachable, even
by FTD’s own development staff.”

“The irony of the FTD story is that it is relatively
inexpensive to detect performance issues and resolve them as
compared to the cost of down time and lost business.
Many web
sites fail to follow necessary steps when testing their own web
application. A common oversight of web site management is in the
preparation for failures at the ISP, or the connection between the
web server and the end user while neglecting other aspects of the
web site. Part of this failure can be attributed to overconfidence
amongst the in-house development team. Relying on the development
team to check its own work for defects is not ideal.”

“A set of guidelines that Binary Evolution uses for effectively
testing web sites will be discussed. In addition, we will
demonstrate several common web site performance issues and our
solutions. Even with the best preparation, web site disasters can
happen. In fact, web site failure is nearly unavoidable and
precautions must be taken to properly monitor for the inevitable
crash. A plan of action will be proposed for worst case