Webscale has a 100% uptime record for 2016 across our entire customer base. In an effort to support our customers through another amazing season for 2017, we put together a list of best practices. These suggestions may help you as well.
- Production code freeze from 15-30 November 2017 and again from 16-31 December 2017 to avoid unexpected issues. This is both, for our customers, and us.
- Marketing Plan: Identify the specific period you expect high traffic. Ask the questions: What is your marketing plan heading into Black Friday? Do you have any planned launches or email campaigns that are expected to help drive traffic? What is your expected traffic lift from Black Friday? Broad percentage metrics are adequate for planning purposes.
- Team Schedules: Identify peak times each day and plan your team schedules and vacations around it. Ask the questions: In your experience are there times in the day that matter more for your user base like early mornings or late nights? Do you see your peaks on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, week before Christmas or all three? Do you plan to launch any specific promotions?
- Load Testing for expected traffic using third party tools, companies in the industry or Webscale Load Testing. Ideally, running small sales events on production will give you some insight into preparedness for the holiday period.
- Access management: Avoid unforeseen changes and managing issues. All administrative functionality should be limited to whitelist IPs preferably no later than the code freeze date in production. A strong application-focused Web Application Firewall (WAF) like Webscale Cloud Secure can definitely help keep the good guys coming in and the bad guys out.
- Best Practices: Discuss best practices and have agreement within your teams for high volume events, like when to flush caches to relieve performance bottlenecks. Flushing caches during peak traffic will create an unpredictable increase in demand for CPU that can disrupt user experience.
- Additional Infrastructure: Set additional hardware or cloud instances in advance of the demand. Remember — a slight increase in costs will be offset by revenue and user experience. And definitely remember to turn off that additional infrastructure when the season is over, right before you relax and celebrate your success. Webscale’s predictive auto-scaling technology for scale-out and scale-in can certainly help as well.
- Capacity on Database or Network: Any other changes to be made to your database size or bandwidth needed should be made well in advance. Hitting peak database size can never be good for user experience.
- Security Posture and Virtual Patching: Review security posture and all suggested security patches to ensure the backend of your site is secured. Smart bad guys don’t come in through the front door anymore. And if they do, they look just like a regular user but go to your backend instead. Webscale has an end-end Enterprise Cloud Security solution to help secure the front and back doors.
- Backup Validation: Validate your most recent backup and ensure you perform a backup right after your code freeze, with a clean copy of your site in case of disaster. The Webscale Premium Backup solution can do this for you automatically as well.
If you have a good story to share about these practices, your site performance, other suggestions we have missed in this list, or just want to know more about Webscale, the E-commerce Cloud company, do reach out. Thank you and all the best for the season!