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Super Bowl is 4 months away...

2010 Season's final of American football was played between colts and saints and New Orleans' saints became the champions on Feb 7th, 2010. This is a marquee annual event in American sports culture run by NFL and fondly called "Super Bowl". That Sunday evening is for family.. millions of household in United states with there popcorns, kids, dogs and friends prepare them selves to watch the game and bond.

Super Bowl is not "just" another game, it is also a huge marketing event.. Brand new Commercials from premier businesses makes there premier during the game and viewers across the continent witness the creativity and engagement with these short videos competing with each other to grab the attention of the viewers and leave a mark in there hearts for whole year.. BridgeStone was one of commercial in that year which took lots of attention. BridgeStone Corporation is a Japanese multinational manufacturing company founded in 1931 by Shojiro Ishibashi in the city of Kurume, Fukuoka, Japan. The name Bridgestone comes from a calque translation and transposition of ishibashi, meaning 'stone bridge' in Japanese.

Cars and automobile are integral part of American households and help run the economy and provide the sense of individuality to residents of the states. BridgeStone made the tires for cars, busses trucks and motorcycles.. They were owning a huge share of tire and rubber market in the continent and now they wanted to sparkle during this marquee event in February of 2010 by bringing a commercial during the event which can take viewers attention away and make a tiny space in there hearts and subconscious so that thought of BridgeStone flashes in front of viewer's consciousness when ever his car needs a tire change;

Here is that ~30 sec video, three guys are racing down a highway alongside the ocean while a whale hangs out the back of their truck. They approach a boardwalk and pause for a moment. Suddenly, the driver slams the pedal to the metal, and they start speeding down the boardwalk while the guy in the passenger seat screams bloody murder. At the end of the boardwalk, he swings the car around and the momentum releases the killer whale back into the ocean. “Now, that was a bachelor party,” the driver says.

The sale of BridgeStone tires after this ad went through the roof, viewers hooked onto the ad and BridgeStone got etched into there minds..

In the same year(2010) AWS released one of an important service, they called it as Route 53.. Amazon Route 53 is a highly available and scalable Domain Name System (DNS) web service. Route 53 connects user requests to internet applications running on AWS or on-premises. Before we move on to our super bowl story, its important to have a primer on DNS..

DNS or Domain name system is an address book of internet, computers at the edges of this giant network are identified by IP address ..

An IP v4 address for a web server connected to internet will looks like this

The IP Address are too abstract way to look up a site on internet, imagine typing instead of DNS made life easier, it was like a table where you can say " is hosted on a WebServer whose IP address is". The Server which host this mapping is called Name Server or NS, there are commands like "nslookup" which will give you the name servers for the domain name you are looking up for. Go run "$nslookup"

There are some important points to note

  1. DNS is a distributed systems
  2. Its a network of server which helps browser (or client) get to know the IP address of site.
  3. Not one server know all, but they know where to point to.

How DNS Works

  1. Browser makes a request to local ISP for reteriving IP address of
  2. ISP recursively traverse NS (Name Servers) to find the IP address of
  3. First call is made to Root NS to fetch the IP address of, Root does not have the IP address but it knows where to find .com
  4. Next call is made to .com to fetch the NS which knows the IP address of

So that was a quick recall of what DNS .. Before we move to our story .. a quick point for you all to benefit from. As you can see there are Name Servers which are either redirecting or returning the IP address of the end server.

2 Type of Name Servers - One redirects and other gives you the IP.

These 2 types of servers are called Recursive Name Server and Authoritative name servers. Authoritative name servers are the ones which contain the exact IP of the server.

2 Type of Name Servers - One redirects and other gives you the IP.

While AWS was releasing its own DNS ( as a Service ) in 2010 and it was named Route 53 whose original name probably was Amazon DNS, BridgeStone.. the tire company was excited about there next sales campaign post there blockbuster super bowl commercial.. "Now that was a party...." Says the Driver.

"The next wave of growth is gonna come from Digital".. says the CMO of BridgeStone, "we got to bring and augment our presence on internet and start selling our products through our brand new e Commerce store and coming Super Bowl is a perfect event for us to capture"

It was November of 2009 and BridgeStone was planning to launch there first digital sales campaign through super bowl traffic funnel. Everything was ready, there website was live and serving real traffic.. Products were lined up, supply chain was oiled. Resources were allocated to ensure the maximum sales conversions in next 4 months.. Customer support was headed by CMO itself to ensure 5 star ratings and reviews from customers.

It was 4 months to Super Bowl and all hands on the deck to make the best commercial and drive the maximum sales, IT department was given enough resources to build a state of art Data Center to handle the traffic and be resilient and available..

On 7th Feb 2010, 75000 People watched the finals between colts and saints in Miami's Hard Rock Stadium, almost 105 million people watched it live on there televisions through CBS. The volume of traffic on BridgeStone e commerce site hit peak numbers with 10 mins of the blockbuster commercial, Drivers all over the united states want better paws for there automobiles. Dealers and distributors were flocking in number to book in advance.. All were looking for the page where they can go and get the best offers after the commercial went live with in first half of Super Bowl, but that page..

The page was un available after hitting the peak traffic with in 10 mins of commercial .. The traffic hitting BridgeStone site was unprecedented, most of the CPUs on every application server with in BridgeStone Data Center were running at 100% capacity causing request queues to back up.. the number of waiting requests were so much in number that processors could not cope up with the user footprints and collapsed causing web servers to fail health checks. The Demand was such that servers could not keep up..

The sales campaign failed, the commercial was a blockbuster hit, it generated the traffic, the product was ready too but distribution failed .. Digital Systems could not fulfil the demand, the capacity of there processing was planned but limited. They could not go beyond a point, the rigidity of Data centers and there finite computing power left no options but to choke under that extreme surge of traffic.

The systems needed scaling, horizontal scaling.. and that also automatically....

Next Up - Basic Unit of Compute - EC2.