The cloud breaks – What happened at the big click sale?

One of the first real test of Australia’s fledgling cloud offerings was tested last night with the big click sale and to me it was a total fail.   If this web site was sold on the basis of being cloud based they forgot to get the primary reason that cloud technologies is used.

This web site was going to save the retail sector, get them on par with the Internet based retailers who are absolutely hammering them on sales performance.   All it has done is shown that they have a lot to learn concerning the Internet, social media and managing cloud based technologies.

Cloud based systems are dynamic, the resources stretch and shrink, are allocated and withdrawn based on the businesses requirements.   This is instantaneous.   This is invisible to the users.  This obviously did not happen.

Systems like Tickertec, hoyts and Webjet have all been down this road before.   With new releases, high end concerts and large air ticket sales, they have experienced the problems that the big click sale experienced last night.

Don’t get me wrong, the concept of the store based retailers getting together to entice people back to their stores on the internet was a good idea.   Their failure was in the advice they were given to achieve that concept.

One of the largest failures was underestimating the Australian public.   Australians are always willing to help the underdog, no matter what the cause and at present the retailers are definitely the underdog.    Obviously the required resources were not applied to the system along with an expectation that they were not going to get that many sales.

The Big Click Sale web site should have been configured to allow for instantaneous and rapid expansion of resources.   As a base level they should have been expecting 10,000 connection per second with a exponential growth of a further 100,000 per second.   To achieve this the the system needs to be able to allocate more RAM, more processors and more cycles to the main application to handle the expected increase but it needs to be done dynamically.

Somewhere along the line the reason for doing the sale was lost and forgotten.   There were a number of reasons for doing the sale but they all pale into insignificance if it doesn’t bloody work.   I just hope that they had insurance that covers this as it could be the last hurrah of a number of the retailers.

Roger Smith, is an educator. Teaching students at ADFA (UNSW) and showing them how vulnerable they are to cybercrime.

He is also CEO at R & I ICT Consulting Services Pty Ltd, an Amazon #1 author on Cybercrime and founder of the SME Security Framework. He is a Consultant who specialises in inexpensive and highly effective security strategies for small and medium businesses and not for profit organisations.

He has developed and authored the SME Security Framework and the Security Policy Training Course which are considered to be the definitive guides to helping SME's protect their organisation using the principles of Technology, Management, Adaptability and Compliance.

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