You are here
CNN.com: Facing a World Crisis
September 11 of 2001 saw heinous events of such magnitude that the entire world was transfixed by disbelief. In the understandable hunger for news, Net users flocked to news sites. The unexpected and unprecedented demand quickly drove nearly every news site into the ground, and CNN.com was no exception. What brought our site back up was a tremendous effort of teamwork, fast thinking, and troubleshooting, all happening in the face of a terrible tragedy.
In the span of 15 minutes the demand for our site increased by an order of magnitude. On September 11, with only 85% availability, we still served over 132 million pages, nearly equaling our site's all-time high. On September 12, we shattered any previous site records with 304 million page views. This talk will tell the story of CNN.com and the team that worked so hard to meet the unbelievable user demand. One of the biggest challenges faced by the team was induced by cascading failures, so that increasing capacity alone was not sufficient to resurrect the site. The talk will conclude with a discussion about the relevance of this experience to anyone who runs a Web site.
Open Access Media
USENIX is committed to Open Access to the research presented at our events. Papers and proceedings are freely available to everyone once the event begins. Any video, audio, and/or slides that are posted after the event are also free and open to everyone. Support USENIX and our commitment to Open Access.