DECEMBER 2016 IN
RICK ASTER’S WORLD

All I Want for Christmas Is a Stable Internet

Since it was invented, Cyber Monday has been a day when you could watch the Internet break. At first, the web traffic was enough to slow down all network traffic in some workplaces and cities. As soon as those problems were solved, the biggest web stores would have capacity issues and unpredictable crashes as traffic surged 20 percent higher than it ever had before. New bugs were discovered in web server software that was bulletproof on all other days. “Next year, things will be different,” the engineers and managers in charge of web store deployments, yet new problems popped up every year.

This year, things were different. Glitches have been few and far between throughout the Christmas shopping season, and I am not aware of any major outages on Cyber Monday itself. The most prominent problems occurred earlier in the weekend at Macy’s, which had to ration access to its web store for several hours, but the strategy worked — the site never slowed to a crawl or crashed.

It surely helped that Cyber Monday sales numbers were up only 5 to 10 percent from the previous all-time high. Yet the stability of web software must also take some of the credit. Ecommerce and network technology may have gotten through its awkward adolescent phase to reach the mature stage of being dependable and ready to face the world. Cyber Monday, with its record volume, is a good test of a web deployment. A web store that can sail through Cyber Monday is probably prepared for the rest of the year too.


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