Over the past few months, Dyn has been interviewing customers in our key verticals as well as analysts focused on those markets. It’s an initiative similar to the Dyn Customer Advisory Board – to better understand our customers’ challenges and to ensure that we’re continually developing the right mix of solutions and services to address their challenges.
One of the learnings that’s come out of those sessions is that our customers face many common issues when it comes to their online infrastructure. The need for “elasticity” — dynamically scaling for peak traffic periods — is a challenge we heard repeatedly across several verticals – including Adtech; Retail and eCommerce; Media & Entertainment; and Travel & Hospitality.
Scaling Up to Address Demand Spikes
Most online businesses have peak traffic periods. For Dyn Media & Entertainment customers it might be a sports event like the World Cup or Olympics causing the traffic surge, or it could be a breaking news story. For Dyn Adtech customers like AppNexus, it could be a successful marketing campaign.
For Dyn Retail and Travel customers like HotelPlanner.com, it could be due to the holiday season, or a unique sale like Amazon’s recent Prime Day. Sometimes social media is the impetus behind unplanned surges in traffic, Ellen DeGeneres’ “selfie” at the 2014 Academy Awards was retweeted more than two million times within minutes after it was posted, something that no one at Twitter could have anticipated.
Spikes can even occur daily. One of the biggest users of Internet bandwidth is Dyn customer Netflix, which has significant spikes in demand during peak viewing periods of 7 p.m. to midnight, but relatively little demand in the early morning.
Having the capability to scale up to address demand spikes — especially unplanned demand spikes — is something that all companies need. An unexpected surge of traffic might seem like a good thing at face value, but it’s a problem for any company that doesn’t have the infrastructure to support it.
Scaling Down is as Important as Scaling Up
But it’s not just the ability to scale up that’s important; companies also need to be able to scale down when demand is lower. Otherwise, you’re wasting money on unused infrastructure and capacity.
The dilemma is that in an on-demand world, you can’t afford to wait to increase capacity to accommodate greater customer demand. But it also means that when you’re not using that capacity anymore, you need to turn it down really quickly.
To accommodate planned and unplanned traffic surges, many companies want to leverage a combination of public, private, and hybrid clouds to expand and contract infrastructure as necessary.
Leveraging Clouds for Elastic Scalability
The challenge is to determine what infrastructure and applications to host where. What are the appropriate loads to put on public clouds versus private clouds versus hybrid clouds? What parts of your infrastructure may need to scale suddenly? How can you separate your sensitive assets that need to be kept securely?
It’s difficult to know the answer to those questions, and it’s where Dyn’s Internet Intelligence solution comes in with the insight needed to leverage cloud services to effectively expand and contract your infrastructure. With Internet Intelligence you get neutral, unbiased, vendor-agnostic information on the best providers for your scalability needs, including critical information on:
- How do cloud providers compare in terms of performance and regional delivery?
- What’s the right mix of on-premises, cloud and hybrid to best serve my customers?
- Am I getting the most cost-effective use of my infrastructure to handle demand spikes?
Another Dyn solution to explore is Traffic Management. While cloud providers can elastically scale your hosting environment, databases, and other parts of your online infrastructure, you also need to make sure your DNS is up to the task, and that you have a provider with unparalleled DNS domain expertise and extreme system scalability.
Combine Dyn’s Traffic Management with your elastic cloud services to ensure you can scale up and down as needed, while containing costs across your entire infrastructure.
How to handle peak traffic periods without over provisioning can be one of the most critical decisions that an online business will make. Make sure you have the insight, intelligence, and tools you need to leverage clouds for elastic scalability. To learn more about our Internet Intelligence and Traffic Management solutions — and Dyn’s full Internet Performance suite — please contact me or any Dyn representative.