Super Bowl Day, Are you ready? Are you really ready?
The highly anticipated Super Bowl commercials….even the non-sports fanatics love this time of year. What hilarious or shocking ad is going to be drive consumers to a website and become this year’s the most popular “water cooler” subject at the office? Which ads will spiral a business into success and which will leave mud on the face of your brand forever? What’s it going to be?
Super Bowl game day, is your team ready...and more importantly - is your website ready for the load?
We all recognize the direct correlation of a super bowl commercial and the astronomical hit rate to a website. With smart phones, you don’t even need to leave the bar, or your couch, to hop on a site and peruse the content. These highly coveted Super Bowl ads come with a jaw dropping price tag. Some companies will go out in a limb and spend their entire year’s marketing on just 1 minute. Have you prepared your website with rigorous performance testing? If not, you are spending a whole lot of money to broadcast that your website is actually not ready for the volume of users, sending a subliminal message that neither is your product or service. YOU ONLY GET 1 chance to make a first Impression. It’s game time.
Kick off to Load Testing.
You’ve just dropped a fortune on a Super Bowl ad and you can feel the excitement in the air. Who’s responsible for making sure your website is ready for the surge? You are. You alone. Not the compartmentalized IT folks, not the “elastic” cloud provider, not the warranty on the hardware, not the vendor of the software. You are. Not the “warm and fuzzies” given from VP’s, Directors, and PM’s. It’s your team, it’s your website, the only way to prepare it is to practice, practice, practice….or test, test, test. It’s your reputation on the line. It’s your game to lose, or win.
Our team explodes with energy, a great play is made and we get a first down. Users are logging in, enjoying the swift response time of a low loaded website. Click, maneuver, click, fake, submit, pass, checkout, catch, pay, confirmation, touchdown. That was easy.
The game goes on. More users flock to your website. The login rate increases. The players start breathing hard. The infrastructure resources are being utilized…and suddenly, a player fumbles the ball, a CPU hits 90%, and now you are on the Defense.
But you’ve done plenty of performance testing. You know the limitation of your infrastructure. You’ve tuned environments so they can’t buckle and break apart, the CPU works hard, but doesn’t saturate, and your team gets possession of the ball.
Workload is increasing and POP, a key player’s knee is injured, he goes down on the field, a JVM in your Load balancer cluster heap dumps and it’s out for the rest of the game. Are you prepared? Of course you are, the cluster can handle the outage and traffic is seamlessly swung to the other nodes, end users are even aware there was a failure. The player is taken off the field. The cluster handles and distributes the load across all members.
The other team calls a new play, no one has seen it before. You thought that most of the usage would be at the “Checkout” but no, the users are all checking out the warranty page, and it’s being hit hard by simultaneous requests. The webserver is serving up this one page in high demand and you didn’t even consider the possibility so didn’t think to cache it. The fate of your success relies on the response time of people getting the warranty information…and the webserver is choking. Players are confused, scrambling to understand where the ball is headed. Luckily, you’ve configured the webserver to spawn more worker threads and it kicks in – all users receive the page in under 3 seconds. Interception, and you have the ball again.
Half Time. Can your website handle the load?
YOU ONLY HAVE ONE CHANCE TO MAKE A FIRST IMPRESSION. One blip, and it goes down in cyber history, never to be forgotten. Social media spreads information like a contagious plague; there are overnight successes and failures. The duration of the blip is not even considered, it happened. Your website did not meet expectations; therefore the lasting impression is that your product or service cannot meet your expectations either. Don’t let this happen to you, you can prepare to make a positive first impression.
Second Half. Massive stress test to your website.
Don’t blow it. The VP of marketing is pacing, the fans are saying their prayers, our team had better perform. No pressure. Clock starts. The players are well trained and the game is progressing. More and more people are twittering about that fantastic commercial and people are hopping onto your website for a looksee. Tackle and we lose possession. The DB is flooded with requests because yes, people are buying. Fans are holding their breath in silent prayer. No worries, you’ve prepare for this scenario….you saw it coming. You’ve set the DB connection pool at a limit so that it handles the workload and queues the requests until a thread is available. Interception, and we have the ball yet again.
Game day. Did your website handle the load? Did you score the load testing-my-site-can-handle-the-load-and-yours-cant-sucka touchdown?
Are you prepared? Did you win or lose? It’s all in the preparation: the training, the testing, the practicing, the capacity planning. Your team. Your responsibility.
Need to do some pre Super Bowl load testing in a New York minute?
Happy Super Bowl.