If you had trouble getting updates on this morning’s Apple keynote, you weren’t alone. Almost every major tech news site suffered at least some downtime during the introduction of the new iPhone 4S.
In addition to some server hiccups here at PCWorld and at our sister publication Macworld, almost every site covering Apple’s event live--including Wired, Engadget and Ars Technica--suffered down time. Even Apple itself wasn't spared as users rushed to order a new iPhone. Sadly pre-orders don’t begin until this Friday.
We’ve seen this kind of down time at almost every Apple event for the last few years. So what, if anything, can sites do about the Apple rush?
Hosting company Rackspace has a history of keeping sites up during major rushes like today’s Apple announcement. We asked Joseph Palumbo, a managed cloud specialist for Rackspace, what his company does to prepare for Apple announcements and other heavy traffic days.
Palumbo’s main tip is to prep early. When you know a heavy traffic day is coming, resources such as additional servers, need to be devoted beforehand--fixes on the day of the event rarely hold up.
“At that point anything you’re doing is just a Band-Aid.” says Palumbo. By the time a major event rolls around, Palumbo says, it’s just a typical day for Rackspace “with an extra tab open to make sure everything’s working as expected.”
Palumbo also says it helps to have experience with these kinds of issues. Obviously an easy way to do that is to team up with a company like Rackspace that’s been through days like this before, it's easier for sites like Rackspace which have a lot of extra server cycles to use but even smaller companies can learn the ins and outs of avoiding down time.
Today, most companies managed to weather the storm relatively well, once the initial rush faded. But unless sites learn to better prepare (or the hype for Apple products dies down), this isn’t the last time we’ll see Apple crashing the tech world.