Cyber Monday is one of the most critical days of the year for retail. Black Friday is also increasingly turning digital as savvy retailers post special promotions online to capture sales from those who don't care to brave the 4am crowds after digesting big holiday meals. Today, many would rather stay put at home (and me among them!), shopping via keyboard, cozy in pajamas. So, who sweated while watching online response time slow to a crawl or rushed to bring systems back online while revenue leapt to competitor sites?
Press reports show that some major retailers experienced unfortunate site crashes over the holiday weekend again this year. This type of press coverage is most certainly not appreciated by shareholders, management, current or future customers.
Causes for these problems can often be attributed to the effects of unexpected spikes in visitor traffic. As online shopping grows in popularity and becomes available on more and more web enabled devices that can be accessed anytime, anywhere, handling these spikes in traffic is critical to winning the availability battle. Why would a customer wait for one site to respond, when they can easily type their way to another? Those who watch over mission-critical systems deserve better than bedside beepers, sleepless nights and a lot of stress from uncertainty.
Over the past 35 years, HP has taken solving mission-critical system challenges very seriously. Our customers know HP Integrity NonStop systems can handle huge transaction spikes with confidence. We've been diligent to ensure that NonStop offers the highest levels of availability and scalability in the industry, with up to 99.999% uptime out of the box. Add to that substantially lower TCO than mainframes and it is easy to see why customers such as Chico's choose HP Integrity servers to handle their most critical workloads.
Finally, I'd like to share with you some comments from one of our retail customers who rested easy these past few days. Jim Lance, CIO of Bon-Ton stores was extremely pleased at how well the current Integrity NonStop system handled sales volumes on "Black Friday"- traditionally their busiest shopping day of the year. "We were able to complete all processing and deliver all sales files off the NonStop system in record time, with all reports produced by 8:30 a.m. Saturday morning," he says. "That made it almost like a normal business day, even though the volume was dramatically bigger." With the new Integrity NonStop BladeSystem, Lance expects to see even more impressive performance.
So readers, share your stories. Which companies exceeded your online shopping expectations and which disappointed? How confident were you that your servers could handle 2009's Black Friday and Cyber Monday transaction volume?