How Crash Tests Make the Web a Safer Place

If I had the time and energy of a real investigative reporter I could tell you how many crash tests are performed by automakers each year but it has to be a big number. Computer simulations might do just as well for designers but I'm sure the insurance companies and customers demand more.

The CapCal Crash Test is being offered to those whose websites have already crashed as a way to repeat the worst case scenario in a controlled fashion so that internal limits can be defined to trigger extra capacity when needed. While absolutely no harm is done to the website being crash tested, nor are any users inconvenienced or animals tortured, it will nonetheless discover server and bandwidth limits wherever they exist.

A corollary to the statement "if you can't measure something you can't manage it" is "if you don't know your limits you can never ensure against reaching them". What it takes to find the limit of each site or application will vary from a couple dozen to tens of millions of virtual users, as in the case of a Yahoo or an eBay. Whatever that number is becomes the peak capacity from which all kinds of other useful values can be derived.

In case there aren't enough technical buzzwords floating around out there, I chose the name "crash-proofing" a while back because the object of a crash test is to make something crash-proof, to make it able to withstand a crash without buckling or caving in like the car above. So in addition to the crash test there has to be the equivalent of airbags for users, and I suppose that would be the Amazon Cloud - airbags as fluffy as a cloud!

Or am I taking this analogy too far? If so I apologize, but I think it serves to make the somewhat obvious point that crash tests are necessary to make something crash-proof. So when I refer to crash-proofing as a methodology, I'm talking about both things - the crash testing and the cloud bursting working together.

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