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Caching For The Holidays

Around the holidays, getting cash for a gift might make you think that the person didn’t put a lot of thought into your present. However, in the world of server configurations, giving cache to your customers is probably one of the best things you can do.

From Black Friday to last-minute Christmas shopping, the holiday season is going to put a lot of stress on your servers. I’ve written a white paper on many of the things to help alleviate that extra load on your server, but one of the quickest and easiest things you can do is use something called caching. So what exactly does that mean?

Anytime a person comes to your website, your website has to dynamically build a page. What caching does is take some of the commonly requested content and starts storing it in very strategic places so that it can be served fast to your customers. There are several places that you can take advantage of this caching technology.

One of the first places that you can use caching to your advantage is on your database server. This is one of the main engines that powers your website: it does a lot of reading, writing and distributing of data. Using an application called memcache helps make that process more efficient by serving your content faster.

In terms of serving your content, your web servers are going to get an increased load as well. This is the second place that you can cache. An application like Varnish, which can help store the created website, alleviating the load on the server from having to create the site over again when a customer clicks a link. This saves you a lot of time and computational load.

A third place that might be overlooked when caching is the load balancing layer. While most customers think of the load balancer as a network appliance, but based on how it is built into your infrastructure, you can load content there to serve to customers before they hit either your web or database server.

However, if you really want to get your holiday cheer out there as quickly as possible and as close to your audience as possible, there is nothing better than using the Content Delivery Network (CDN) that is built into our Cloud Files solution. By loading all of your static content onto a Cloud Files container and turning on the CDN, you’ll serve that content from our geographically dispersed servers, resulting in a fast load time for your customers all over the globe.

Interested in finding out more to help you prep for the holidays? Check out Joseph’s white paper now. You can also view his previous post where he gives tips on scaling for the holidays. In his next post, he talks about tuning and testing for the increased seasonal traffic.

About the Author

This is a post written and contributed by Joseph Palumbo.

As a founding member of Rackspace's Managed Cloud Support Team, Joseph spends half of his time teaching customers about the Cloud and the other half learning about the Cloud from them. When he's not in meetings, he can be found presiding over cultural happenings around the Rackspace office, discussing support innovation with other 'Fanatics' and wishing paper documents had a built-in search function.


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