I’m watching The Weather Channel while visiting family in Boca Raton, Florida. Hurricane Matthew is expected to hit by evening. Growing up in Florida, I became accustomed to “the hurricane scene”.

A week before the storm, you read a news story about a tropical depression. 2 days later, it strengthens and is given a name. 4 days before it hits Florida, there are tracking models and endless news stories. 2 days before it hits, supermarket shelves empty out and you experience long lines at gas stations. By the time the hurricane hits, you are hunkered down at home watching the weather on TV.

Hurricane DevOps

Hurricanes are all about preparation. In hi-tech, this sounds like DevOps and Performance! We live in a fast-moving world and there are fast-moving methodologies that we call “DevOps”, “Agile” and “Scrum”. When companies run performance tests, they are doing the equivalent of preparing for a storm of visitors.

DevOps is similar to a family in Florida splitting hurricane prep chores. One of you is in the yard clearing anything not tied down. Another buys canned goods (love that spam – “luf” in Hebrew). And another prepares the hurricane shutters. And everyone “QA’s” the house to make sure everything is ready. Charge your mobile devices before it hits!

In DevOps, one team programs, one team implements and one team runs QA. Thanks to technology, there are no excuses for not being prepared. You have load testing and quality assurance tools to ensure smooth performance. When hit with a spike in traffic, you are prepared. The CIO and CEO won’t accept slowdowns or critical failures.

After Hurricane Andrew hit Florida hard in 1992, local government changed the rules. Tougher building codes and regulation went into effect. Floridians “over-prepare” for hurricanes since Andrew. The cost of over-preparation is cheap compared to the cost of under-prep.

The same goes with performance. Expecting 10k visitors a day to your website? Prepare for 20k-30k. It is a lot cheaper to over-prepare than to face the consequences of under-preparing. In today’s fast-paced world, slowdowns are measured in dollars per second.

Just like with hurricanes, you know when your peak periods are. Black Friday, registration week, December holidays, Spring Break, 4th of July – they are on your calendar and you have no excuse not to start running performance tests months ahead of time.

I remember someone at a company I worked at doing something at the last minute. “But the high holidays are early this year and it is already August.” I couldn’t resist. “You know when the holidays are decades in advance, what’s the surprise here??”

Prepare for performance like a Floridian preparing for a category 5 hurricane!