Ashes to Ashes: Using Varnish to make your website ready for anything

Is it hopeless and sad that I cynically wished that David Bowie’s recent passing was all just a publicity stunt (that is, like “Lazarus” - Bowie’s haunting single and video, released just before his death, perhaps foretelling that the Starman would rise again like Lazarus himself)?

I was not prepared for Bowie’s death. Who was, really? The collective shock and sadness that swept through all forms of media was an outpouring the likes of which I have never seen. (The Eagles’/Miami Vice’s Glenn Frey passed away only days later, and while plenty of people mourned, the media onslaught and grief en masse for Bowie remains unsurpassed.) It’s hard to realize how much someone means to you, sometimes, until s/he is gone. Okay, so emotionally perhaps we could not have prepared for Bowie’s untimely demise - but the vast and deep outcry of grief following his departure illustrates (and this might be another cynical, even tasteless, note) that even for things you can’t prepare for… there are aspects for which you can and should be prepared.

What I mean by this is that, yes, media outlets and retailers - and everyone who does business or shares information on the web - knows that there are predictable peaks: election results, Black Friday sales, the SuperBowl, the World Cup, the Olympics. Or when a medium to large-size company runs a promotion (which can easily go horribly awry) or publishes something that might break the internet. These are, despite unpredictable aspects, scheduled spikes in web traffic.

The heat is on - be ready for anything

Not every event, regardless of how important it is, is created, handled - or unfolds - equally. What about the unpredictable events that lead to very sudden and possibly cataclysmic surges in traffic and subsequent effects on web performance? The natural disasters, the 9/11 or Paris attacks or the death of a superstar (NYTimes.com showed a fourfold peak in traffic when Leonard Nimoy died, but his death was perhaps less a surprise than David Bowie's was).

You don’t want to have to bring your website back from the dead (a la Lazarus). Make sure your website is alive and ready for anything, whether it’s a normal news day, a predictably busy traffic day or a day that delivers some catastrophic and unpredictable news. Varnish Software and Varnish Plus can help ensure you are ready for anything.

  • High-performance, scalable content delivery regardless of site traffic.
  • Granular level of control over cache and cache invalidation to ensure you deliver the most up-to-date information.
  • Ensure uptime of most recent good information if your site does for some reason go down (it happens). Your site visitors still see the last working version of your site - no frustrating error messages.
  • Focus on fast, reliable, scalable user experiences.
  • Always be ready

To learn more about what Varnish Plus can do for you, sign up for a free trial.

Try Varnish Plus

Photo is (c) 2014 Andy Rothwell used under Creative Commons license.

Topics: web performance, Glenn Frey, web caching, web scalability, David Bowie, news

29/01/16 13:00 by Erika Wolfe

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The Varnish blog is where the our team writes about all things related to Varnish Cache and Varnish Software...or simply vents.

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