Our View: Prepare Now for Cyber-Monday 2007
Opinion: The best companies treat IT budgets as strategic investments and don't let them become sitting ducks for the snipers of cost reduction.IT people spend much of their timeand invest much of their credibilityputting numbers on things that might or might not happen. Security threats might appear in the wild, or not. Disasters might justify costly contingency planning and backup systems, or not. But year-end peak loads on financial systems, not to mention "Cyber Monday" and other spikes in workload, come every year. So why is it they seem to come as a surprise? During Thanksgiving weekend, servers at both Wal-Mart and Macys appeared to suffer after-dinner drowsiness. Wal-Marts systems were described by monitors at Keynote Systems in San Mateo, Calif., as "effectively down" from 4:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on the critical "Black Friday" of the holiday weekend.
Macys systems ran at one-sixth of normal throughput from 4 a.m. to 2 p.m. that same day, a striking coincidence but apparently not a parallel symptom of a single Internet-related cause. These slowdowns were likely caused by site-specific errors: possibly ill-behaved applications, very likely system misconfigurations and almost certainly inadequate knowledge of what tasks were consuming what resources. Someday, someone may even be held accountablenot that this will do any good. What will do good is for all the other IT pros to do more than give thanks that it didnt happen to them. Its not enough to dodge a bullet: At some point, one needs to shoot back.