Enabling Your Website to Survive "The Trump Effect"
February 01, 2017

Michelle McLean
ScaleArc

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As President Trump begins his administration, he continues to use a variety of channels to send messages about his thoughts and plans. These take many forms: tweets, Executive Orders, off-the-cuff comments in speeches and press conferences. We've seen the impact these communiqués have had — they move stock prices, spur protests and generate press frenzies.

Some organizations have been majorly impacted by these communications. This past weekend, for example, in the wake of a controversial Executive Order from President Trump, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) found its website crashing under the load of an enormous spike in online donations.

When an organization like the ACLU finds itself unexpectedly caught in "the Trump effect" — to its benefit or detriment — the IT staff may be under instant pressure to reinforce its systems to accommodate significant traffic surges. The following steps may help as a fast response:

Leverage cloud capacity

If there are resources already set up to run in the cloud, consider expanding capacity dedicated to those applications and data sources. Public-facing sites and applications in particular should be ready to take advantage of this kind of surge capacity.

Reinforce web resources

Web server capacity can be increased fairly easily, leveraging additional hardware for scale out, paired with TCP load balancers to distribute the load. Augmenting the infrastructure with additional horizontal scale out will help keep a public website online when experiencing major traffic surges.

Focus on database resources

The database is often the weakest link in many organizations' technology stacks. Without high-performing databases, apps and web servers will grind to a halt — and "slow" becomes the same as "down." It is crucial to monitor database performance, and, like with the web tier, consider horizontal scale out to increase capacity, paired with database load-balancing software to distribute the load.

Monitor the complete application stack

Application Performance Monitoring (APM) software can provide a holistic view of customers' experiences. Where are the bottlenecks in the application's overall performance? What recommendations can the software make for root cause and troubleshooting?

These actions are easier to undertake with some advanced warning, of course. Any organization that anticipates it could be impacted by "the Trump effect" should plan ahead with these steps to the best of their ability. IT teams in such organizations should look across the full technology stack and identify quick steps they can take to make their systems more robust.

Michelle McLean is VP of Marketing at ScaleArc.

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