Over the past month, and particularly since our popular Web Mode release a week ago, we have seen substantially higher strain on our servers. This has resulted in a poorer than normal service for our users.
We have already made a series of improvements, and in this post we delve deeper into the behind-the-scenes world of WorldTV’s technical architecture, and how we intend to improve things even further.
WorldTV currently runs on 7 high-specification dedicated servers, and was first designed five years ago, well before the current trend for ‘cloud’ servers.
Cloud servers are essentially ‘computing on demand’, and for website owners it has the advantage of distributing high demand for a website over hundreds of different computers (that are shared between hundreds of different websites). In this way websites that are getting popular can have their demand met, while other websites that are not as popular use less resources. It’s a simple idea that generally works well.
We think that some form of cloud hosting is in our future and we have begun to carefully plan and research a migration towards that. It’s a significant overhaul to change the architecture of a site like WorldTV (some may remember the growing pains that Twitter experienced), and we are moving carefully in that direction. In the meantime there are several things we are doing to improve things in the ‘here and now’, and this work has already begun.
Yesterday we turned off some of our non-essential statistic reporting services (behind the scenes stuff) which should speed up loading of the Editor, and in particular Web Mode. If you have tried in recent days to access the Web Mode feature and been put off, we invite you to try again.
The problem that some users experienced today logging in to their Editors, or viewing the TV mode versions of their channels, we believe was a one-off issue, but we shall be monitoring this closely in the days ahead. In fact we strongly encourage all WorldTV users to follow us on Facebook, and post comments there if anything is not working. While we do run extensive monitoring software, some problems slip through the cracks, and we are not always immediately aware of them. In general our Facebook page is becoming our primary forum for two-way feedback with our community of users.
We will have more to share in the weeks ahead as we work to improve the speed and reliability of our service. We believe in being transparent about everything we do, and we hope you enjoy the new features and improvements as much as we enjoy bringing them to you.
UPDATE MARCH 2012
We have made further improvements this month and have upgraded WorldTV Server 1 to a higher specification. Uptime in the past 7 days has been 99.76%. We’ve also been running experiments with cloud hosting on some parts of the site. The results of this have been encouraging and we are pushing forward with plans to implement this particular improvement permanently. Watch this space!