If you had trouble getting updates on last night's Apple keynote, you weren't alone. Almost every major tech news site suffered at least some downtime during the introduction of the new iPhone 4S. In addition to some server hiccups at PCWorld and at Macworld, almost every site covering Apple's event live -- including Wired, Engadget and Ars Technica -- suffered downtime. Even Apple itself wasn't spared as users rushed to order a new iPhone. Sadly pre-orders don't begin until this Friday.
We've seen his kind of downtime at almost every Apple event for the last few years. So what, if anything, can sites do about the Apple rush? Hosting company Rackspace has a history of keeping sites up during major rushes like today's Apple announcement; we asked Joseph Palumbo, a managed cloud specialist for Rackspace, what their company does to prepare for Apple announcements and other heavy traffic days.
Palumbo's main tip is to prep early. When you know a heavy traffic day is coming resources need to be devoted beforehand since fixes on the day of the event rarely hold up. "At that point anything you're doing is just a band-aid." says Palumbo. By the time the event itself rolls around Palumbo says it's just a typical day for Rackspace "with an extra tab open to make sure everything's working as expected."
Palumbo also says it helps to have experience with these kinds of issues. Obviously an easy way to do that is to team up with a company like Rackspace that's been through days like this before but even smaller companies will learn the ins-and-outs of the situation eventually.
History bears that out: websites are handling the crush of traffic from Apple announcements far better than they once did. Today, most companies managed to weather the storm relatively well once the initial rush faded. But unless they learn to better prepare (or the hype for Apple products dies down), this isn't the last time we'll see Apple crashing the tech world.