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How do you handle spikes in request volume? That is, one of the nice things about working in the cloud with dynamic sizing is that your costs should only be relative to your average load, not necessarily your peak load. Given the size of Swiftype, and the fact that you back tons of individual sites (instead of being your own site), there might be enough variance in the sites you back so that your peak and average load is pretty similar. For a single ecommerce site, though, they might get a huge peak over baseline if they do a big marketing push, for example. In that case, they might have to provision many more physical servers than they usually need to handle that peak. Just wanted to see if this issue came up in your planning.



Honestly, just as it is with many SAAS companies at some scale, we do not need care about any specific customer's traffic anymore. Simply because we get so much traffic already from our existing customers, that none of the new customers could generate enough to cause any significant blip on the radar. If a customer comes to us with some specific requirements (like being able to index 100MM documents with some specific response time guarantees), we build dedicated pieces of infrastructure for them, load-test it all and provide those guarantees. All of the others are placed in their own pools which have enough capacity to handle 3-5x of ALL of our current traffic with no issues, so any single customer would not be able to generate enough load to cause problems.

And, as I mentioned in the article, we could always order new boxes for any of our clusters and get them online within a couple hours, so we are able to scale up pretty quickly if needed.




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