Catch of the Day set to beef up IT

Summary:Daily deals site Catch of the Day has gone from strength to strength since its inception in 2006, and is now planning a massive IT revamp to keep up with demand.

Daily deals site Catch of the Day has gone from strength to strength since its inception in 2006, and is now planning a massive IT revamp to keep up with demand.

Vijay Bala is the chief technology officer for Catch of the Day and has worked with the company since day one. He told ZDNet Australia that the amount of traffic the site receives every day has sent him back to the drawing board to bolster back-end infrastructure so it can deal with the millions of hits.

Everyday at midday, Catch of the Day posts a new deal that is available for 24 hours, or until sold out. Once a deal goes live on the site, it is often run off its feet by users clamouring for savings.

"Our hosting company folds over because of the amount of traffic we get. Our firewall reaches the maximum number of connections, which can handle up to half a million simultaneous connections," Bala said.

To fix the issues, Bala and his team of two is now in the process of beefing up the hosting infrastructure for Catch of the Day and is also rolling out IBM's WebSphere Commerce to deal with the traffic issues. The secret, according to Bala, is caching the site differently for users.

"Having the new IBM caching abilities means customers don't use our pipe as long as they normally would because of the cache on your browser. Customers won't actually be using any load on our site until they actually want to interact, log-in to their account, review an order or buy something," he said, adding that the new functionality is set to go live within the next two months.

"Fingers crossed, we're hoping that the new IBM gear will be able to take the full load. We're doing a very intricate stress test in about two weeks."

In tandem with the new IBM gear, Bala is in the process of upgrading Catch of the Day's server infrastructure through Ultra Serve, which hosts other e-commerce sites like

Catch of the Day is connected by a private fibre link of 100Mbps to Ultra Serve, with the ability to scale up to 300Mbps on demand. But from now on, Catch of the Day will be connected to its infrastructure via a permanent 1Gbps fibre link.

With the gigabit connection to the Ultra Serve hosting environment, Bala expects that Catch of the Day will be able to take on 10 times the amount of traffic it handles now without the network falling over. Bala has also begun beefing up the machines' serving content to get the most out of the new link.

"Literally just the other day, I spent something like $120,000 on RAM, boosting our machines to 64GB of RAM — the most they can take," he said.

Bala's work around the site looks never-ending in 2011, as he plans to rebuild Catch of the Day's iPhone application, as well as move the hosting infrastructure from coupon partner site Scoopon onshore from its current Hong Kong location.

Topics: Cloud, Apple, E-Commerce, iPhone


A fresh recruit onto the tech journalism battlefield, Luke Hopewell is eager to see some action. After a tour of duty in the belly of the Telstra beast, he is keen to report big stories on the enterprise beat. Drawing on past experience in radio, print and magazine, he plans to ask all the tough questions you want answered.

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