The holiday shopping season is right around the corner, are you ready to handle the masses?

Black Friday and Cyber Monday mark the beginning of Christmas shopping season, and the two are among the most significant and busiest shopping days of the year. These days come with increased demand and traffic, and you want your applications and services to be ready for any surge that might arise.

Among the tools and services that you’re already using to monitor and handle your application when outages and downtimes occur, there are a number of practices you should keep in mind. Using them, you’ll be able to deal with or even avoid Black Friday/Cyber Monday doomsday. Let’s check them out.

1. Know as soon as something happens

There are tens, thousands or even millions of things happening within your application at any given time, and you want to keep track of everything that’s going on. More important, you need to know as soon as something goes wrong, before it affects your users and customers.

This is even more critical on major shopping days such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, in which every minute of downtime is crucial and can cost you thousands of dollars. You want your application to be up, running and give customers the best experience possible. That’s why real time alerts are key factor for your application, servers, services and even features that might hurt the ideal shopping experience.

However, setting up alerts is not enough, you want to be able to act on each alert and know what it means.

2. Get meaningful alerts

Monitoring is essential, but what do you do with the alerts you’ve set up? To know what happened and react quickly, your alerts should be as meaningful as they can be. That’s why you need an alerting strategy.

There are numerous options and ingredients that each alert can hold, but adding too many indicators might turn important and critical alerts into noise you’ll have to sift through. Instead, you should focus on the top must-have ingredients that will help you prevent a production crisis, such as timeliness, context and, of course, finding the root cause of each issue.

3. Find the root cause

Most applications have hundreds of thousands or even millions of errors each day, and on days like Black Friday every minute wasted on debugging is critical and is translated to money and time wasted. Once an issue has happened, we want to know why it happened and how to fix it, quickly.

Common monitoring tools, such as APM and logging tools can’t give us the detailed information we need. We also found ourselves wasting hours (and sometimes days) of our work week, searching through logs trying to find critical issues and get to their root cause. That’s exactly why we’ve decided to build OverOps, focusing not just the “when” and “where” but the “why” as well.

With OverOps, development teams can immediately identify the cause of each exception, and see the variables that caused it. We help companies such as Comcast, Intuit, TripAdvisor and others improve productivity significantly by giving them the root cause with just a single click. Check it out.

4. Add automation to the process

Faster growing companies and services embrace a faster workflow. A CI/CD environment automates the build-test-deploy cycle, which in turn lets you push updates and fixes faster into production, handling issues as soon as they happen.

One of the things you should know is that the CI/CD workflow doesn’t end when new code is deployed to production, and monitoring is an inseparable part of it. With OverOps, you can automate your root cause, and get the complete source code and variable state that caused each issue or error. This allows companies to reduce their Mean Time to Identify (MTTI) and Mean Time to Resolve (MTTR) by over 90%, turning hours of debugging into minutes. And there’s no doubt that this is critical at this time of the year.

To find out how companies like Intuit, Zynga, TripAdvisor, Comcast and others are automating their error resolution workflow, check out our new eBook: The Complete Guide to Automated Root Cause Analysis.

5. Turn reactive into proactive

There’s always at least one sneaky bug that made its way into production, which can hurt your customers without you even noticing until it’s too late, and customers start to complain about it.

The last thing you want is customers finding issues and bugs before you do, or having your developers spend most of their time sifting through logs and debugging issues. Not to mention the number of implications your company can suffer from when developers spend too much time on debugging.

The most important practice you need is also the most obvious one: you want to know your application is ready for Black Friday, Cyber Monday or any other day of the year.

That’s why it’s critical to turn the reactive method of waiting around for issues to occur and only then fix it, into a proactive and automated process in which you’re always one step ahead of your errors.

This can be done with the use of a variety of monitoring, APM or log tools that meets your own set of requirements and elements you would like to monitor and handle. Whatever tool you pick, keep in mind that it should work for you and give you the much needed answers to solve issues, and not send you on a wild-goose chase through your logs.

Final thoughts

In the end, it doesn’t matter if it’s Singles’ Day, Black Friday, Cyber Monday or any other day; you want your application to be ready for any scenario, on any given day, giving customers the best shopping experience possible. By applying these practices to your workflow, they can help make sure your application will always be accessible, without experiencing any downtime, all year long.

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I write about Java, Scala and everything in between. Lover of gadgets, apps, technology and tea.