The NYT warned us about the traffic firehose …
The public launch of Art.sy via the New York Times last week was an incredible experience.
I first saw an Art.sy prototype in January 2011. It was built in PHP, had a Java web-services back-end talking SOAP and running on a MySQL database. By March that year the tech was rebooted. We’ve iterated at a crazy pace steadily opening the beta for almost two years. And finally, we’ve served over 10x the highest known number of simultaneous users on a complex, content-rich and interactive system last week. The pounding of our service continues today, setting a new traffic baseline and plenty of future growth to look forward to.
I’ve seen and contributed first hand to plenty of failing and succeeding technology. Aside of having an A-team of engineers, what makes a successful launch possible? It’s without any doubt, the Cloud. It finally enables web technology to “just work”. We use a plethora of services, including Heroku and MongoHQ, all of which run on AWS. We designed a very simple and horizontally scalable system and then just provisioned front-ends with the growing traffic needs. I realize that I now take this kind of infrastructure for granted, and am always surprised when I meet people that have their minds blown by it. If the concept of getting a booted server responding to web requests in under 60 seconds sounds like science-fiction to you, time to press that reset button and find a new job!
Want a list of new and old tech to check out? Read my blog post on Art.sy’s Tech Stack.