Target’s Missoni Meltdown

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At first glance, this appeared that this past week would have been a slam-dunk for Target.  As it turned out, it was Target’s website that was slam-dunked.

You probably saw the news stories:  Target introduced its line of products from Missoni, the Italian designer, ranging from stationery and clothing to patio furniture.  The company knew the debut would be popular, but obviously underestimated just how popular:

  • The Chicago Sun-Times reported that visitors to Target’s website overwhelmed the site, “In a scene reminiscent of the frenzy that typically comes on the day after Thanksgiving”
  • CNN noted that Target.com homepage was completely down for 15 minutes early Tuesday morning, and continuously suffered intermittent outages during the rest of the day.  CNN said “the homepage (was) displaying a courtesy page of the Target dog letting visitors know the site was overloaded. At 7:35 p.m., the Target dog was issuing the same greeting”
  • And the Huffington Post reported on the website outage with the headline, “There's Black Friday, then there's Target Tuesday.”

We don’t know the details of what caused the Target website to go down. But in our always-on world, most companies can’t afford to have an e-commerce meltdown.  As a result, cloud-based infrastructures are becoming increasingly commonplace among companies that know if they’re down for even a short time, they run the risk of losing customers.

Companies that have deployed cloud services know that they’re able to rapidly respond to unexpected spikes in web traffic, so that they can seamlessly meet the demand. Windstream’s cloud services are scalable and dramatically improve the efficiency and availability of IT resources and applications in your organization, allowing you to rapidly deploy capacity without capital investments so you can reshape your environment on demand. So if a company is preparing for a promotion or a spike in web traffic, they can ramp up capacity accordingly using the cloud.

Many companies have suffered through an unexpected outage caused by unanticipated demand.  Online vendors have grown to expect that the “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” shopping opportunities are going to cause far greater web traffic than normal; they’ve learned to plan for that.

Perhaps the lesson here is that companies should consider planning for the unexpected…which means that they need to be able to react to changes at a moment’s notice.  Cloud can be the solution that offers that scalability and flexibility.