In less than one month I’ve watched both Mozilla & Apple have record setting launch days while still experiencing all types of technical problems & causing end-users much frustration & hassle. It’s obvious from the amount & types of problems that were reported on each company’s launch day that neither company was prepared to handle the volume & capacity for that single day. I’m confident that both companies can handle a normal day’s volume just fine. However, both companies appear to have decided that it’s not worth the investment to ensure things work on high traffic volume days such as launch day.
In a previous post I commented on capacity planning & made reference to the failures that Mozilla experienced during “Download Day” for their Firefox 3 browser. As reported by GigaOm, Mozilla’s download site was down early that morning (June 17th) due to the high volume of traffic the website was experiencing. Despite Mozilla’s site being down, they actually did set the new Guinness World Record for the most downloaded software in a 24 hour period. In fact, 8,002,503 users downloaded Firefox 3 that day.
More recently Apple had a record setting launch day/weekend even though they too experienced significant outages & interruption of end-user services. This past Friday, July 11th, Apple released both its new 3G iPhone & its iPhone 2.0 software to existing iPhone owners. Throughout launch day customers across the world were unable to activate their new devices after the Apple servers could not cope with demand & did not allow users to download a new version of iTunes to support the phone activation. For those existing iPhone owners who were planning to update their iPhone software to the 2.0 version, they too experienced problems. NetworkIP’s very own PR guru Neil Vineberg was affected when he tried updating his iPhone software. He was so disappointed that he commented about it on his blog. Neil said, “My phone is dead. A brick. And you’d think that Apple would have had their act together after promoting this launch date for a month.” Despite all the frustrations, complications, & inconveniences that iPhone users experienced, Apple too had a record setting weekend. Apple sold one million 3G iPhones in just three days.
While some may agree with Mozilla & Apple’s approach of architecting for a normal day’s traffic volume it is something that as an organization that we do *not* allow for at NetworkIP. We plan & architect all of our solutions for the busiest days (our version of launch day) of the year; ours being Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, & New Year’s Day. We attribute much of our success to the fact that we *do* plan for the busiest days of the year — it’s one of the many things that separates us from our competition & has propelled us to the top spot in our industry.
As companies such as Mozilla & Apple are able to still have record setting launch days despite so many technical difficulties what’s to stop them & other companies from continuing to architect their platforms for only a normal day’s traffic volume? It’s obviously not fair to the consumer that these companies plan & architect in this fashion that they do, but if we continue to provide them record numbers why would they plan any other way?