ReadWrite Profiles Gilt and Our "Insane" Traffic Spikes

1 min Read Time


The popular tech blog ReadWrite published a Q&A today with Gilt VP Architecture Eric Bowman in which Eric discusses our love of Scala and the Typesafe platform, our passion for open-source software, and the exciting technical challenges created by our super-intense, daily traffic spikes. A taster:

RWFrom a technical perspective, what makes Gilt unique? Why does Scala matter?

EB: One of our key uniqueness factors is our flash-sales model, which produces some very exciting technical challenges. Every day we experience intense traffic spikes at noon US Eastern Time as the day’s batch of new sales go live. Our members rush to view all the different products, and on most days, our traffic increases by 100 times in just a few seconds. So we have to build systems that can support these sudden bursts of activity. 

Our solution has been to develop a distributed architecture based upon hundreds of microservices built in Scala. 

RWWhy microservices?

EB: Microservices make sense for Gilt in a number of ways. Gilt started out as a monolithic Rails application, but as we grew quickly we soon found out that this model wasn’t well suited for handling our traffic spikes very effectively. A monolithic architecture makes it challenging to identify who owns what code, and introduces complex dependencies. It also tends to lengthen test cycles and can have unexpected performance impacts.

With micro-services, we can maintain isolation between unrelated services and that keeps our development process as friction-free as possible and reduces complexity. It also enables us to establish team ownership of end-to-end quality, which not only makes us all more accountable but also contributes to developer happiness–our engineers know they can have an impact and see the results of their work more readily.

Read the full interview here!

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