How to Effectively Manage Your Traffic Peak?
Every company has strong times, anticipated or unforeseen, which cause increases in traffic over very short periods of time, and produce significant stress on the infrastructure. However, it is essential that it can withstand shock and remain functional to avoid service interruptions, and serious consequences. It is also crucial that web performance remains excellent, knowing that any instability or slowdown is likely to have a negative impact on revenues.
At Iguana Solutions, we offer solutions dedicated to managing traffic peaks depending on the infrastructure type that supports the service, whether it is a public cloud or an on-premises stack. What are they?
Manage Public Cloud Traffic Increases
On a public cloud, traffic peak load management consists of an automatic deployment of the necessary resources by the service provider, a flexibility made possible by the cloud infrastructure. This makes it possible to react on a case-by-case basis to a traffic increase, whether it was planned upstream (seasonality, scheduled following a marketing event, etc.) or not (buzz, unexpected buyback, change of direction, etc.).
In short, with a public cloud, the infrastructure adapts to the technical stack in two ways:
- Through managed services, which implies that the provider manages the business layer of the infrastructure alone – freeing the customer from needing to take any action.
- Thanks to autoscaling, which is an automatic modulation of resources according to the consumption required by the infrastructure during load peaks. However, even if autoscaling is a very effective solution to adjust allocated resources to the platform as quickly as possible, it is essential to ensure that you have proper configuration and monitoring. This allows you to avoid any drift that could be costly, especially if more resources than necessary are added.
Manage Traffic Increases On an “On Premise” Infrastructure
It is quite different to manage peak loads on traditional infrastructures. Indeed, these rely on physical servers, a feature that mechanically increases latency. In fact, what is instantaneous with public clouds (the deployment of additional resources) takes a long time when it comes to adding physical machines. It is therefore essential to anticipate possible traffic increases in order to avoid at all costs any service interruption.
For an on-premises infrastructure, Iguana Solutions recommends three approaches:
- Anticipation, based on in-depth customer knowledge. This makes it possible to predict major load peaks related to seasonality (tourism companies, sales periods for e-merchants), news (media, marketing), etc. It is also necessary to integrate the other customer characteristics, such as the geographical location or the distribution of sales points on a given territory.
- Adapting the infrastructure to present and future needs. With this knowledge, we can scale the infrastructure right from the start, while planning additional resources to deploy at key moments. For example, by adding spare machines which remain dormant, but that can be activated quickly when needed.
- Transfer overflow on Iguana’s Cloud. Unexpected increases in traffic are, by definition, unpredictable. Therefore, we propose to “overflow” the additional traffic on our own Cloud to guarantee maximum responsiveness while allowing the load peaks to pass or identify a more sustainable solution (but longer to implement).
Peak Loads Management Best Practices
Solutions presented so far apply to one or other type of infrastructure, public cloud or “on premise”. Nevertheless, there are also good practices and technical means to absorb peak loads and reduce stress on systems that are suitable for both types of platforms, complementing the pure and simple addition of infrastructure resources.
- Caching and lightening of the site
Caching is a common and very effective practice for relieving systems. It consists in keeping certain information about Internet users in a kind of buffer (for example, a request often repeated) to relieve the infrastructure. This caching is automatic and can affect both user queries and databases.
- The CDN
Technically, it is possible to manage peak loads by setting up a CDN (Content Delivery Network), a network of servers spread over the territory. Such an infrastructure helps to reduce latencies by having servers installed closer to end users – an indispensable precaution for a site hosted in France that works with customers in various countries. In addition, the CDN secures exchanges by filtering traffic entering the server, which helps guard against DDoS attacks – the artificial overload of a server or service to make it unavailable.
- Multi-site deployment
Another solution is to deploy the infrastructure across multiple geographically separated sites to distribute the load across a set of servers. A well-balanced infrastructure helps support peak loads: Let’s say you have two separate sites and each one is running at 50%, that still leaves you 50% free to use on each of them. In the event of a disaster (flood or fire that destroys one data center), this prior distribution makes it possible to switch easily to healthy servers.
Finally, there is a wide range of solutions for anticipating peak loads:
- Technical platform audit ahead of the heavy workload to ensure that it is healthy.
- Carry out stress tests to confirm the platform capabilities and identify any bottlenecks (which, at the same time, validates the resistance of the site to high traffic).
- Predicting the impact of a possible future change: Company takeover, media coverage, ad campaign launch, social networks buzz, etc. (For which, again, good customer knowledge is necessary.)
What should we remember?
On the one hand, peak load management is an imperative necessity: It is the sine qua non condition to guard against an incident that could lead to a service interruption.
On the other hand, each type of platform (public cloud or “on premise”) requires the implementation of specific solutions.
Finally, it is essential to anticipate, i.e., to say (re)think the infrastructure sizing so that it meets your business needs, including during unexpected traffic increases.
What if you asked Iguana Solutions to accompany you with this?