For those of you familiar with the craft beer industry, you know we have some amazing breweries here in the Midwest, and arguably one of the best in the country – Three Floyd’s Brewing. Three Floyd’s is located in Munster, Indiana, and what’s particularly fascinating about this brewery is that every year they release a limited amount of a special beer they brew. It’s a Russian Imperial Stout called “Dark Lord”. The beer is sought after by many a craft beer enthusiasts, including myself; so much so that the brewery even has its own day for it – Dark Lord Day. For one to purchase this beer, you have to buy a ticket to attend Dark Lord Day where you’re only allowed to purchase four 22oz bottles of it.
Now it’s hard to imagine that the hosting world would ever collide with the craft beer world, but sure enough, this past St. Patrick’s Day; that’s exactly what happened. March 17, 2012 – 12:00pm CST, that was the time the 2012 Dark Lord Day tickets were set to go on sale on the Three Floyd’s website. And like all my other fellow craft beer enthusiasts I left whatever celebration I was at and headed home so I could grab myself a ticket for the big day. With a comfortable 15 minutes till noon, I fired up my laptop, cued up my browser, and headed to the Three Floyd’s webpage, eagerly awaiting my moment to pounce.
Finally, the clock struck 12 and I refreshed my page, but to my dismay I found myself greeted by a page that just couldn’t seem to load. Panic set in. “This can’t be happening” I thought to myself. I quickly opened up another browser to try my luck, but it was the same story. I tried refreshing… nothing. Finally minutes later the page I wanted finally loaded. I clicked to start the process and it timed out. “You’ve got to be kidding me!” I shouted it frustration. Seconds passed by like minutes, and the minutes like hours. Twenty minutes had gone by as I struggled just to get to my ticket selection page. Finally the page appeared. Quickly I selected my ticket and proceeded to the check out; but alas it was sold out! So I tried again, this time for a ticket with a later time… but it was already too late. They were ALL sold out. I had failed to get a ticket for the beer that I so desperately desired.
So what went wrong? Should I have upgraded my Comcast connection? Should I have considered trying Internet Explorer even?!? Nope, this had nothing to with any of that – in fact all of my friends had encountered the same experience, and not one of them got a ticket. And the reason for that is simple – there were inadequate hosting resources available for the Three Floyd’s website to handle the visitor demand. So while this doesn’t change the unfortunate fact that I didn’t get my ticket; the good news is that this all could have been prevented had they simply harnessed the power of the cloud.
So what do I mean by this exactly? Well let’s face it, in the past you had two options when you built a website. You could 1) build your site, provide it with some hosting, and hope for the best; or 2) build your site with an overabundance of hosting resources that would allow it to handle any amount of traffic that could ever get thrown at it. The Three Floyd’s is your classic example of the first option; which is a choice that many sites make, especially if they are not projecting too many visitors. But what happens with sites like this is when there is an abnormally large increase in visitors; the website can’t handle the traffic – which is exactly what I experienced.
This result I’m describing is also sometimes known as the “morning show effect”, whose name essentially represents the influx of visitors and requests websites get from being featured in a prominent media outlet. And if you’re not equipped to handle the surge, it can result in some unhappy customers or lost clientele. In fact, the idea of having one of these unfavorable experiences is why some sites take option two. They do this so they can prevent this sort of mishap from occurring and for their site to be prepared for anything. However, this state of readiness often comes at a high cost.
Now enter the era of cloud hosting. By utilizing the power of cloud servers, you can scale your resources up or down to meet your site’s needs. So in Three Floyd’s case had they anticipated the high demand of resources required; they could have simply scaled things up prior to the sale so their site would have been able to handle all the people who wanted to buy tickets. The other plus side to cloud hosting is that you can deploy your resources fast. Our SingleHop public cloud servers are typically deployed in just 15 minutes. This means when I encountered a similar issue in buying tickets to the opening of Revolution Brewery’s new brewing facility, they could have greatly benefited from the cloud’s speed of deployment. Instead it took several hours for their servers to be upgraded to an adequate state to handle the ticket sales. Had they been utilizing cloud hosting from the start, they would have been back online even faster.
Cloud servers have changed the hosting game, and for many up and coming companies it’s a smart hosting solution to capitalize on in place of traditional dedicated servers. If you’d like to learn more about SingleHop’s cloud offerings visit our cloud hosting page - your business and your beer might just depend on it!
Personal Anecdote: While I did not receive a ticket to Dark Lord Day, I was still able to get a bottle thanks to my roommate’s cousin, who was one of the lucky few whose order went through.