The Freeze

2866522209_02285d877c.jpgThe “Freeze” is upon us in the Payments Space. Any and all system changes should of been made and time spend making sure your payments systems and infrastructure can handle the Black Thursdays, Fridays, and Holiday Season should be complete and in monitoring mode. Rather then expand more here - Andy Orrock wrote a excellent piece on this last year: Everybody Freeze!

In the Payment Systems World, we’ve now entered “The Freeze.” This is the industry-wide term associated with the period running from approximately the Thursday before Thanksgiving (which is the last Thursday of November in the US) through to about the second full week in January. During that period, we don’t do any production releases, unless it’s a fix of a critical nature. We advocate the same practice for our clients. We also recommend that they not undertake material changes to hardware configurations, databases, scripts, or any other piece of supporting or underlying technology.

Traditionally, it’s been a good time for us to focus on big projects that have a Q1 delivery date. We can stay under the covers and make some serious progress on those bigger initiatives.

We also send out a customer letter re-emphasizing how to get a hold of us. The letter stresses the importance of vigilance and watchfulness over key production systems. It reminds our clients that we’re Always Available. Our firm was founded on the back of 24x7x365 support of mission-critical production systems. We get paid to make sure our clients can – to the fullest extent possible – enjoy the holidays with their family knowing that we’ve got their back on support.

Why all the heightened concern? It’s the nature of payment systems: there’s tremendous upsurge in volume in the freeze period. If you’ve got a latent bottleneck laying dormant and ready to strike, the unfortunate reality is that it’s going to nail you right between the eyes on a killer day like Black Friday, Cyber Monday or Christmas Eve. We service some Stored Value authorization endpoints that get massive 20x surges in volumes on December 24th. So, you’ve got to be ready.

We work the other ten-and-a-half months of the year to make this month-and-a-half as uneventful as possible.

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