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Video: How to Handle Unexpected Traffic Spikes

Learn more about CDN Optimization at Streaming Media's next event.

Watch the complete video of this presentation from Streaming Media West, B202. CDN Optimization: Working Towards Broadcast Economics & Quality at Scale, in the Streaming Media Conference Video Portal.

Read the complete transcript of this clip:

Alexandra Giusto: Now for Wendy who gets to prepare for the unexpected, the tornadoes, and the hurricanes, and the earthquakes. How do you handle such unpredictable traffic spikes. What is the Weather Chanel doing about this?

Wendy Frazier: Absolutely. While we don't have months to prepare, we do generally have days. We have really awesome meteorologists that prepare us for storms and events that are coming our way. You know, guerilla testing and making sure you have the appropriate infrastructure and metrics in place to be able to context-switch when needed. Having a winter storm going up the central is very different then from having hurricane that is going up the east coast. We recently had hurricane Michael that had a very big impact on Messico Beach and knowing that a large majority of our traffic is going to be in the east coast region, we were able to route and be able to do some different levels to be able to support that. So while some of it unpredictable, some of it we're able to predict a little bit of it. And we make our apps preform as best as they could, based on the data that we have.

Alexandra Giusto: Alicia, you kind of touched on this before, but Fastly can kind of be in place and doesn't know when they are going to get traffic from these companies or when they are going to switch over. What is Fastly doing to prepare for that unexpected traffic?

Alicia Pritchett: So I think it's core for us how we architect our network. We try to focus on building a very modern network and that kind of goes on how we build out our pops. We try to build our pops to be able to automatically scale those. We're putting certain ports in place so that when do have to go through an upgrade cycle. That's a very quick cycle and it's a rapidly scaled cycle.

But I think in conjunction with that, we have about 27 terabits per second of bandwidth globally. Right now we're trending somewhere under five terabits per second and we have consistently seen spikes. Our latest was 5.2 Tbps of sustained traffic of about four minutes and it was totally unpredictable. And we're expecting to see higher than that for the Super Bowl. We're expecting 10 Tbps.

And so we encounter these spiky-type events in many scenarios. Some of these may be DDoS attack but some of them may look like a DDoS attack but they are actually legitimate traffic. So when print side, for example. That truly looked like a DDoS attack on a number of different sites but it was legitimate traffic that we have to handle and be able to deliver without fail. That's how we handle it.

Another thing is just making sure we're very strategic about our POP locations. It’s really key. This helps us to yield better last-mile results for end users. And then it also increases the initial quality of the user experience. That modern network design and then request collapsing and being able to have that built up capacity to be able to handle any and every type of… Our focus is around handling every use case. Whether it be your steady state traffic or having spikes. And we have customers that have a lot of spikes.

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