The Mars rover Curiosity had a highly anticipated, highly nerve-wrecking (but successful) landing over the weekend. But for all of NASA’s concern that the landing go off without a hitch, they still had time to consider – and test – the landing’s live video stream. NASA knew a lot of people would be tuning into the live landing feed, and they wanted to make sure it could stand up to the demand.
For the actual testing, NASA teamed up with load specialists (and uTest partner) SOASTA. GigaOm writer Derrick Harris contacted the organizations to find out how they went about testing. Here’s a few highlights of what SOASTA did:
- SOASTA generated load from six Amazon EC2 regions across the world, generating more than 25 Gbps of traffic and pounding the application for nearly 40 minutes.
- After 20 minutes, they terminated 10 instances (see Arrow 1 on the chart) to see if their stack and Amazon’s cloud could handle the failure. This temporarily reduced the amount of traffic the system could handle, but Amazon’s Elastic Load Balancer service had the failed instances back up and handling 25 Gbps in about 5 minutes.
“Load on the primary FMS server and the tier 1 cache remained very low for the entirety of the test; we should have no problem running dozens of stacks during the live event. Anecdotal evaluation of the NASA live stream during testing showed no buffering or bitrate drops.
We are confident that the results of this test suggest that an aggregate of these stacks will be able to deliver the required streaming delivery for the Curiosity landing event.”
If NASA can find the time to load test their website and video stream while they’re planning one of the most momentous space landings ever, what’s your excuse for letting heavy traffic crash your site?