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Woot.com scales using aiScaler on Amazon Web Services


Problem statement

Woot.com is a well known online e-tailer, famous for creating the “one day one item sale” business model. Woot’s main website offers one discounted product each day, often a piece of computer hardware or an electronic gadget.

Periodically Woot announces a “Woot-Off”, a short term frenzied mutation of the product posting procedure. In Woot-Off mode, a new product is launched immediately after the sellout of the previous deal.

As the news about Woot-offs goes viral in just few short minutes, traffic to Woot’s website spikes to tens of thousands of connections a second. These orders-of-magnitude spikes can overwhelm Woot’s datacenter.

Woot.com needed a solution that would not require a massive investment in additional hardware, software and support. The Amazon Web Services business model of pay-as-yougo capacity-on-demand allowed them to meet this requirement without the capital investment.

aiScaler to the rescue

Woot chose to use aiScaler Application Delivery Controller available as a preconfigured Amazon Machine Image. Using the AWS console, Woot deployed instances on the Amazon Web Servics EC2 platform, and directed the DNS to route all traffic to the aiScaler instances.

Using the flexible caching configuration of the aiScaler software, Woot accomplished a caching ratio of 96%. This means that while thousands of requests a second are fulfilled by aiScaler, barely any load trickles through to Woot’s datacenter.

Woot now uses their load balancer to move all Woot-off traffic from their datacenter to the aiScaler instances in the the cloud taking advantage of the built in monitoring provided aiScaler. Once complete, they use the AWS console to scale back the instances on Amazon reducing the cost.

“With less than a day’s work total, we were able to configure aiScaler for use during WootOffs. Our site stays up under the crush, and we’ve saved quite a bit on hardware purchases and time spent optimizing.” said Luke Duff Retail manager at Woot.com

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