Sponsor Content
What does this mean?

Supporting COVID-19 Vaccine Rollouts with Vaccine Edge

Hear from Ari Weil, VP of product marketing at Akamai, on how to ensure performance and security for your vaccine website.

Shutterstock_Vaccine Rollout_Header
Global endeavors to produce and distribute the COVID-19 vaccine continue to race ahead. In an effort to help citizens secure appointments for vaccinations, and to keep them informed of progress, state and local governments have been deploying vaccine finder and registration sites. But as hundreds of thousands of citizens rush to find distribution centers that have supplies and the capacity to take on new appointments, a different capacity problem has arisen. The infrastructure that site administrators have deployed to host these websites have been failing under the load of hundreds of thousands of user access attempts.

Flash crowds are a common occurrence for some site administrators. Retailers, banks, asset managers and insurance companies are all accustomed to seasonal spikes in demand. These businesses spend months preparing for these events, scaling up infrastructure and investing in site optimization, content delivery networks and distributed edge platforms in an effort to keep sites secure, scalable and speedy, and ensuring the best experience for their users. But the technology teams at many government agencies do not have this experience, and as a result, constituents have been frustrated when they face timeouts and errors, and nowhere to turn for relief.

Beyond site optimization, a common approach that retailers take to provide their customers with an informative and stable experience is to implement virtual waiting rooms. Scaling website infrastructure can seem straightforward, but deploying additional hardware, or scaling virtual environments in the cloud is an expensive enterprise that requires deep knowledge and understanding of computing, networking and security technology. Fronting websites with virtual waiting rooms can help any website infrastructure manage these challenges by offloading resource requests so user demand can be satisfied, even if users are forced to wait in a virtual queue to be processed.

One government agency recently turned to Akamai for help. Their vaccine registration site was struggling to remain online, and even when it did, the average time to book an appointment would exceed 20 minutes. Our Vaccine Edge solution helped in several ways. First, it ensured that the site could scale to accommodate massive citizen demand, while providing a consistent experience. Next, it optimized page load times, which brought registration times down to two minutes. When demand exceeds the site infrastructure’s capacity to process new requests, Vaccine Edge places users in a virtual waiting room that identifies their place in line and delivers information on the vaccine sign-up process while they wait. Finally, to ensure that the site is protected from DDoS attacks or bots that attempt to impersonate users to “scalp” appointments, Vaccine Edge implements a Web application firewall and bot mitigation technology.

Throughout the pandemic, Akamai has worked with our customers to minimize disruptions. We have ensured availability and scale for government agencies. In the U.S., we assist beneficiaries of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act with performance optimizations and virtual waiting rooms. Now, as efforts continue to ramp up for vaccine distribution, Akamai remains committed to supporting any effort to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine.