Network Computing is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Shopping Site Braces for Holidays

Online shopping during the holiday season relieves much of the stress of battling crowds at the mall -- and places that stress on the infrastructure and IT teams at online retail sites.

With Black Friday, Black Monday, and other shop-happy days coming, admins such as Shopzilla's Burzin Engineer (his name, not his job title) want to make sure their shopping sites can handle the loads to avoid any black eyes and red ink for their businesses.

"An hour's downtime on one of those days could cost between $80,000 and $200,000, depending on the hour," says Engineer, Shopzilla's director of infrastructure. "If it's peak time, it's easily $200,000. Downtime's not an option. It's time for people's resignations if that happens."

A week from today is Black Friday, widely considered the kickoff of the holiday shopping season. That's followed by Black Monday, also known as Cyber Monday, when millions return to work after the Thanksgiving weekend, log on, and promptly hit their favorite online retail sites.

But the busiest day for online shopping usually comes in mid-December, when people realize the deadline for getting their gifts shipped on time is rapidly approaching. Engineer expects that day to come around Dec. 11 this year. He has the date circled because "that's the day when all the geeks typically go shopping. They say 'Oh, shoot, I need to go online because I'm running out of time for them to ship.' That's the busiest day. Black Friday is more for the malls."

  • 1