October 3, 2016
3 min read time

Varnish High Availability: Delivering news or deals, make sure your website has wheels…



No industry wants - or can afford - to face a website outage, but despite this, websites go down all the time, often in critical periods. Think Black Friday holiday sales overloading the site with requests, a huge news event, whether it’s planned (right now we’re only about six weeks away from the US presidential election, which yields record web traffic each election cycle) or unplanned (a natural disaster or attack occurs and dominates the news), bringing droves of visitors to the site who would not normally be there. Whatever the reason, when you’re delivering deals or delivering the news, your bottom line counts on your site being up and available all the time.

High availability: Who cares?

Talking “high availability” is not the sexiest topic for most - in the end, it’s the domain of most companies’ IT departments to ensure availability and appropriate load balancing. But just because it’s their job to secure maximum uptime, throughput and performance, does that mean it isn’t anyone else’s concern? Not any more. Our digital world ensures that most of our jobs, our company revenues, our brands, our visibility all tie back in one way or another to our online presence. And when we ignore that or let it fail, even for a couple of minutes, we’re jeopardizing everything. So, high availability is the concern of the C-level suite and the sales and marketing organization just as much as it is the concern of IT.

The technical details may not mean much to most, but the consequences of not employing high availability can be catastrophic; this is why everyone needs to care about it. On the other side of the coin, high availability also enhances performance, ensuring that multiple copies of the same object are created only from the first cache hit - every new request for an object does not hit the backend, which protects your origin server. With Varnish High Availability, the object fetched from the first cache hit is shared among Varnish servers intelligently.

The real world: Don’t deliver bad news

The real world is going to be full of enough bad news for consumers without adding to it by greeting their attempts to visit your site with nothing. Their presidential candidate might not win; they might not get to take advantage of the deep discount on whatever gadget they wanted to buy, but you can at least make sure that none of their frustration comes from the fact that your site didn’t work.

Watch and learn

Watch our CTO's (Per Buer) latest whiteboard session on high availability to learn how Varnish High Availability can help keep your website up and running - in peak traffic periods, unforeseen events and even in the event of an outage.

 Varnish High Availability within Varnish Plus has two primary use cases:

  • Make your infrastructure more resilient: If the server fails, the consequences are less severe and the entire site does not come crashing down
  • Increase website performance

To learn more about Varnish High Availability, how it works and how it can help you make your site a LOT more resilient download our on-demand webinar on the topic.

Download the webinar

Photo (c) 2010 XNT14 used under Creative Commons license.