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Europeana crash prevention: Cloud and memcached

Websites that don't scale are so 1999. It's time to get into the Cloud.

When I read today that Europeana, a digital library of Europe's cultural heritage "crashed just hours after it went online and will be out of operation for several weeks" I was pretty shocked.

How a website could crash and be offline for weeks in this age of flexible-scale Cloud offerings and caching technology is a bit mind-boggling--especially considering that a properly architected website should be easily portable to larger hardware or a scaled-out system.

There are a great many ways to deal with traffic bursts, from using Amazon S3 for storage, or EC2 for more machines, to Akamai for edge-caching to Memcached to alleviate database load.

Just by offloading the images from the repository, I bet Europeana would have fared just fine. If searching the database brought the site down then those guys are in for some very tough times.

It's one thing to be a victim of your own success (as the site says they are) and quite another to be hamstrung by not following best practices.