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    Categories Networking TechnologyPerformance Monitoring

Take Cyber Monday Off Your List of IT Fears

IT’s job today is to keep user productivity high by providing a good app experience and well-running networks. There are plenty of challenges that can get in the way: shadow IT bringing in mystery SaaS apps, capacity planning and DDoS and other attacks.

Not long ago, an event like Cyber Monday might have thrown yet another wrench in the infrastructure works for IT. All those users shopping could easily have flooded the office network. (Last year, U.S. online orders hit $3 billion for the first time and Amazon reported an Amazon Prime daily traffic level of more than 600 purchases a second.) But things have changed as IT and technology have modernized. Bandwidth is cheap now, and streaming video and music are the real traffic congesters in an office. Plus, sites like Amazon and others are optimized to provide fast load times, with caching, CDNs and other technologies contributing to the improvements. Lots of online shopping just doesn’t do much damage.

The Proof Is in the Performance Pudding

To prove out this newer, sturdier internet, we did a mock Cyber Monday test in our Boston office. We asked our colleagues to spend half an hour doing what they’ll be doing on Cyber Monday: opening up a bunch of e-commerce websites and shopping till they drop. The result in our performance monitoring dashboard showed just a blip from the usual web use, with very little network traffic increase. The total traffic was fairly low (except for Tweetdeck’s steady stream of data), about 30MB per person for the 30-minute period. Traffic was steady and the spikes remained relatively small.

Other users showed similar results.

This was a small-scale test, but in the world where page load time is directly correlated with page abandonment, this is all good news for network engineers, who can stop worrying about Cyber Monday and continue to tackle problems like shadow IT and cyber attacks. In a fast-moving technology world, it’s a treat to see when progress has brought useful changes.  

Not Everyone Can Relax

Here’s a caveat: If you’re running one of these big-scale sites that needs to respond to spikes in demand, then there is cause for concern. The trend towards online purchases is extreme and being able to serve as many customers at once while remaining responsive is a wholly different topic. Suffice it to say, there are solutions! Globally dispersed synthetic traffic is one of these, but I digress. 

Alec Pinkham: Mainer, Brown grad, and general tech junkie, Alec shifted to software after a mechanical engineering education and working in industrial automation solutions before moving to the cloud with AppNeta. Hiker, skier, homebrewer, and ultimate frisbee player - ideally at the same time.