Think cloud computing will solve the problems of overloaded E-Commerce sites? Not necessarily. The web site of U.K. grocery giant Tesco on December 5 ground to a halt after a surge of customers tried to take advantage of a loyalty-card promotion. But that surge wasn't unanticipated.
Just days earlier, Tesco had said that cloud services provider Akamai would be offloading 90 percent of the load-to make sure nothing would go wrong. That didn't exactly work: When the web site crashed, customers turned to the call center and clogged it, too.
The ability to quickly scale up processing power is one of the chief attractions of cloud computing, and there's no doubt it works in at least some cases. For example, Amazon's ability to ramp up capacity via the cloud doesn't just keep the e-tailer rock solid during the holiday peak; it also probably keeps it going in the face of denial-of-service attacks. Still, getting everything in the cloud working correctly to handle a sudden surge isn't as easy as cloud boosters make it sound-and Tesco is Exhibit A.
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