Domino's uses IT to beat the weekend pizza rush

Domino's Pizza has introduced load-balancing technology to beat the weekend rush...

Domino's Pizza has introduced load-balancing technology to beat the weekend rush for online pizza orders.

The firm, which sells over 20% of its pizzas online, claims that the technology paid for itself by ensuring the availability of late-night pizzas for just one weekend.

"At peak times on Friday and Saturday nights, even just 10 minutes slowdown on a server can be a real problem for us," said Phil Thompson, IT infrastructure manager.

The retailer, which has seen online sales grow rapidly over the past 12 months, introduced the load-balancing technology from Zeus Technology in 2007 following a surge in demand for online orders following a marketing campaign.

It is now extending its use of the Zeus appliances to provide greater resilience to its website.

"Previously, if a server failed an engineer had to manually dial in and switch the load to another server. But Zeus automatically polls each server and redirects the traffic," said Thompson.

The Zeus equipment allows Domino's to create new versions of its website on a test server, and to switch rapidly back to an older version of the site if customers have problems ordering.

Thompson also plans to use the Zeus appliances to cache web content frequently requested by online customers, reducing the load on the web servers.

The company has two appliances for load balancing at its Milton Keynes head office, and two for redirecting traffic between Milton Keynes and London.

Thompson said the appliances were simple to install, but required the company to rethink how it managed its domain names.

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