How dotdigital is preparing for your Black Friday campaigns

In the run up to Black Friday, the dotdigital tech team has been busy bracing itself and its server infrastructure to cope with the increased demand Black Friday brings.

We are also aware that this is a critical sales period for many of our customers.

You guys are busy too, and will depend on dotdigital to drive traffic and sales through your online stores. Any problems on the big day are bad for us and bad for you.

Last year we saw a 150% increase in email sends compared with a typical day; that’s a significant increase in usage! Here’s a little detail on the steps we take to prepare our platform.

Global infrastructure carrying your Black Friday campaigns all the way

We have three instances of dotdigital Engagement Cloud running from:

  • Australia
  • US
  • Europe

All three offer the same functionality, but are resourced differently to cater for varying customer numbers in each region. This means we’re running our Black Friday prep three times over.  

We are expecting increases of 50% compared to last year’s Black Friday messaging volumes, and have prepared our infrastructure ready for just that!

Each region consists of several databases which hold your data. These are surrounded by 75 different applications which combined make Engagement Cloud. Some of these applications are public facing and power your account portal, our API, the email tracking site, and more.

We focus on the public endpoints first as this is where increased traffic is received. Typically, each application is powered by its own set of servers. To increase capacity, we use our cloud provider to add additional servers or increase the compute power of the existing set. Doing so means we can safely receive the large spike in tracking data we’ll see on the day. Last year we collected data at over 500 events per second!

Next, we focus on the server clusters which power background services for sends and reporting. These applications typically fetch work from queues and aren’t in danger of becoming swamped with external requests to a point that they cannot function.

However, if we’re not careful, task latency can increase and your sends won’t complete in a timely manner. Again, additional compute capacity is added to stay on top of queued tasks – we’re expecting to send around 500k emails a minute at peak times! Plus, of course the more orders you make the more data we need to ingest. Last year we received nearly 250,000 of your orders on Black Friday, that’s roughly four times the volume of a regular day.

Send with confidence this Black Friday

As always, our service operations and development teams will be keeping a keen eye on platform metrics throughout the day. We’ll be ensuring things run smoothly whilst also looking for future bottlenecks and optimizations. Planning for an even larger Black Friday in 2020 starts this Friday!


Want some last minute tactics to ace Black Friday 2019? Download our cheatsheet here.

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