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Preparing your infrastructure for seasonal peaks

November 11th, 2013 Blog, Cloud Platform, How To

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Are you prepared for seasonal spikes in traffic? And are you spending out large sums on new equipment or upgrading your infrastructure? By using the cloud, those seasonal peaks don’t need to be costly.

Seasonal peaks

If you’re running a web-based business there’s a good chance you’ll experience seasonal spikes at some point throughout the year. Increases in traffic can happen at any time. If you’re an ecommerce business, you’ll experience surges all throughout the year, with the largest influx of extra visitors falling in the last quarter of the year, as consumers start their Christmas shopping. In fact, online retail giant Amazon recently announced plans to hire more than 70,000 seasonal employees to work at its fulfilment centres over the festive period, dealing with the vast increase they expect in online orders.

If you’re an events company, such as a festival organiser that gears up for one large yearly event, you’ll see a reasonably small amount of traffic suddenly mushroom as the event grows close and people look for information or ticket purchases. Or in the case of the BBC, an increase in people viewing coverage of events like Glastonbury  via mobile devices. Similarly, if your business runs any annual events such as competitions, recruitment drives or any seasonal promotion, you’ll see a temporary growth in data usage.

For any online business, a successful marketing campaign or planned new product launch can also mean your usual steady flow of data will spike into larger, potentially costly increases. So it’s important to plan for events like this, ensuring not only that you have the required bandwidth capacity to deal with the surge, but also that you implement a cost effective solution.

Increasing capacity

Traditionally, capacity planning for big increases in data usage would require additional spending on extra rack space, additional servers and other new equipment to enhance the operating capacity of your infrastructure. But this is far from cost effective, as there is a sizeable expense at the start, and once the seasonal peak dies down, the extra equipment will most likely lie dormant until it is required for the next operational increase.

Aside from the spend on equipment, there are also the man-hours to consider – setting up the equipment, building the environment and monitoring the new infrastructure.

Let the cloud help

The cloud can be a useful tool when it comes to temporarily increasing your operating capacity. By adopting a hybrid cloud setup, you still have your standard traditional infrastructure that runs the core business functions, but you also have that extra cloud element at your disposal. So your setup operates as normal, giving you the ability to turn on extra cloud servers to handle peak traffic.

And rather than spending out on lots of new expensive equipment, the cloud element is all part of the package to be used as and when you want it. It is effectively scaling on demand – meaning you can increase your needs when you want them, and reduce them when the busy period subsides.

So when the peak season approaches, no matter what time of year, you are secure in the knowledge that you can simply turn on the cloud functionality to deal with the extra surge. There’s no drop in service, you have maintained redundancy, there’s no extra spend on equipment, no time building a new environment and minimal fuss – you simply turn it on and you’re ready to go. And when the peak dies down, you just turn it off again. So you only need to pay for what you’re using, when you’re using it.

If you’re preparing for a seasonal spike in traffic, and want to know the best, most cost effective way to ramp up your capacity for additional traffic, it’s worth talking to an independent advisor  who can provide impartial advice on how the cloud can benefit you.

Are expecting a seasonal peak? What are you doing to prepare? Leave a comment and let us know.

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