We’re growing, and I’m sure that’s pretty obvious to all of you. From a technical perspective this has presented us with quite some challenges. We’ve needed to optimize the application almost weekly to meet demand, without pouring vast amounts of cash into new servers. We’ve needed to be on the ball monitoring load and performance as well, in order to respond when bad things happen. Testing, in a development and pre-production environment, has had to be ramped up considerably after we’ve repeatedly found our tests don’t address the sorts of issues tens of thousands of users throw at PayPerPost.com in the live environment.
It’s been a challenge, to say the least.
Along the way we’ve had some issues and failures, but also some successes. They tend to go unnoticed by and large. While there was something of a furore surrounding our segmenting out filled opportunities last week, it’s worth pointing out that that release also introduced zero new errors. We even made a release on Friday to address some on-going bugs and issues, and that went very smoothly indeed, to the point that we didn’t even take the site down to the deployment. Things are definitely improving.
We have reached a point now though where we need to physically scale the application once again. We last did this back in October 2006, adding new servers to meet the demand of a growing user-base, building in fail-over resilience and generally making the application more robust. We’re about to do it again.
We’ve outgrown the facilities of our current hosting provider and on Sunday night will be moving the application servers to a shiny new rack at a brand new data center here in Orlando. Unfortunately this means the site will be unavailable for a time. To minimize the impact on posties and advertisers alike, we’re making the move at 9pm Eastern (GMT – 5), and are blocking out a window of 3 hours to complete the move. This means the site will be back online at midnight Eastern time, just as Europe starts to wake up and do business.
By picking a Sunday night we hope not too many of you will be inconvenienced by this. I know a lot of posties blog at the weekends, but the hope is that most of you get your blogging done before Sunday evening. We also know that very few Advertisers ever log on and create opportunities on a Sunday night. The reviewing team here tend to work very strange, jaw-dropping hours so this give them a bit of a break which isn’t a bad thing at all.
This move sets us up for the next phase of PayPerPost.com, a phase in which we massively build out the offering to posties and advertisers and shore up our position as the first and most prolific consumer generated advertising network on the Internet. Thanks for taking the journey with us.