Bloomington, MN – October 31, 2018 – For local news media in the Carolinas and Florida, Hurricanes Florence and Michael meant more than wind and water. Readers rushed to local media websites to get the latest information, see photos and video of the storms, and read stories about the people affected.
These surges in reader traffic often put a strain on the web servers already under threat from the dangers of the environment and from loss of electricity to flooding.
NEWSCYCLE Solutions (“Newscycle), which provides cloud storage and content management software to many of the news media companies in the areas impacted by Hurricanes Florence and Michael, is pleased to report that their customers did not experience any down time but were able to serve their readerships throughout the crises.
In anticipation of each storm, Newscycle took steps to ensure the affected systems didn’t have additional load stress by suspending regular coding and patching operations until after the storms passed and the publishers’ activities were closer to normal. Newscycle also ensured extra support staff and system resources were available to handle increased traffic.
Mazyar Yazdani, Senior Director Media Cloud & Development, noted that while Newscycle was prepared to scale out using tools provided by Amazon Web Services, this ultimately proved unnecessary, as Newscycle was able to handle the increased website loads with its own resources.
Finally, Newscycle customer support team members contacted customers with tips for easing the stress on their systems.
“We knew the traffic was going to be from people who wanted to see images. People would want to see pictures of the hurricanes,” said Yazdani. So, Newscycle focused on ways to keep image uploads quick. Newscycle also increased the amount of storage space in anticipation of the higher number of images and video.
In addition, the Newscycle team enabled reporters in any newsroom to publish to other sites, so that sites could be updated even if one newsroom had to evacuate because of flooding.
The preparations paid off as Newscycle’s customer websites did not experience downtime despite having record high traffic. Yazdani said that Newscycle servers recorded at much as 14x the number of usual site visits, though because there are layers of caching involved, the news sites would have seen even higher traffic. He received word from one publication that they had seen 18x their usual traffic and anticipated more.
“If there’s anything we learned from the recent hurricanes, it’s to be prepared,” Yazdani said. “Our customers rely on us, so we need to be able to predict what might happen and deploy our resources to keep them going.”