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Prepare for Heavy Loads this Holiday Season
By: Terri Wells
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    Table of Contents:
  • Prepare for Heavy Loads this Holiday Season
  • The Three Types of Downtime
  • The Worst Type of Downtime
  • Minimizing the Damage

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    Prepare for Heavy Loads this Holiday Season - The Worst Type of Downtime

    (Page 3 of 4 )

    Finally, we come to the type of downtime that every system administrator hates, but it seems that all must eventually deal with: unplanned downtime. This type of downtime causes the most disruption to your business, with the greatest loss of revenue and customer confidence. As with semi-planned downtime, unplanned downtime may be caused by a number of events that are not completely within your control. These include hardware/software failure, operator error, malicious acts (such as hacking or distributed denial of service attacks), disasters, and of course that holiday traffic spike we have been contemplating.

    When you are down, your customers may have no idea as to why they’re having problems. If you are a retail site owner, your customers may do anything from simply clicking elsewhere to complaining to you to telling their friends not to bother shopping with you – all of which leads to lost revenue. If you are a web host, your customers are the online retailers that are losing business because you’re experiencing downtime – and it’s hard to be reasonable when you’re losing revenue. Needless to say, you need to fix the problem, and quickly.

    The first step to fixing the problem involves knowing that you are down in the first place. You can accomplish this by using some kind of automated monitoring for your servers. There are companies that offer monitoring services (try a Google search on “automated web server monitoring”). You can also purchase monitoring software. In either case, read the manual, ask questions, and make sure you are using the software or services correctly. If the service or the software is working, you will know about the problem before your customers see it and start complaining.

    To give you an example, Alertra provides information on its website for the best way to use its monitoring services, compiled from the five years it has spend responding to support requests. It includes common sense points, like “do not ignore alerts” along with things you might not think of right off the bat: “configure more than one way to get a hold of you or your support staff,” for example, in case your phone’s battery happens to die before an outage (this is more common than you might think).

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