Real-time Reaction Required When Traffic Surges

Scale and speed are critical when big events or unexpected scenarios affect your applications; fast configuration updates can save the day

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Today’s modern world is a mixture of planned and unplanned events, especially in the world of e-commerce. Many sites plan for spikes in traffic with big events like Black Friday, Cyber Monday and tax-free holidays to make sure their applications stay up and running to keep customers happy. But it’s the unexpected and unplanned events that can often throw companies for a loop, bringing applications down or slowing to a crawl. Modern digital organizations need to be ready for both planned and unplanned events to be able to react with speed and scale in real time.

Here are a few examples of unplanned events that can disrupt an organization:

  • A worldwide pandemic that causes businesses to send their workers home to work remotely, resulting in a spike of traffic for videoconferencing apps;
  • Pandemic-fueled lockdowns that spurred many consumers to order goods online, resulting in a 30% boost in e-commerce ordering.
  • Companies deploying a new app or service and onboarding thousands of accounts all at once, resulting in API calls that bring down the service for other customers.
  • A blog post with a video that goes viral, resulting in a spike of traffic.
  • A targeted denial-of-service attack that hits a company’s applications or websites.

“For both unplanned and planned events, your development teams should be able to roll out new changes in real time,” says Steve Rice, Principal Product Manager of AWS AppConfig. AWS AppConfig , a capability within the service’s Systems Manager, gives organizations the ability to deploy new configuration changes to applications with the speed and scale needed during big events and unplanned incidents.

Deploying updates to an application that could contain millions of lines of code can take hours, if not more. This is time many companies cannot afford to waste, especially during an unexpected event where the app or service is down. “When you have a surge in traffic, it is not prudent to simultaneously release entirely new versions of your software stack,” says Rice.

A key component of AppConfig is the ability to separate configuration files for apps from the application’s code, and then enabling the code to regularly poll configuration updates at runtime. Smaller updates to a configuration can be much safer to update an application’s behavior, rather than a full-stack deployment.

During a traffic surge, AppConfig lets you configure, validate and deploy new versions of the configuration. The validation features of AppConfig, along with the ability to quickly roll back to a previous configuration if errors are discovered, provides a safety net for any potential errors, which can happen during a big event or unplanned incident, when frayed nerves appear and tension rises.

In addition, AppConfig allows for operational throttling values within a dynamic configuration that lets you create operational levers that can adjust limits and enable or disable app features on the fly. With configuration changes happening quickly through AppConfig, apps and sites can be kept up and running during those big events and unplanned moments when traffic surges.

It’s always good to “expect the unexpected,” but even better is adapting and reacting quickly when the unexpected happens.

To learn more about how AppConfig can help in continuous configuration practices, click here.

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