Over the last year, Planning Center has experienced explosive growth and increased popularity. As we’ve grown to become one of the most popular applications used by churches, our server infrastructure has been struggling to keep up. We take every outage very seriously because we know how critical PCO is to our users… we use it in our churches, too! We’re happy to report that as you were busy preparing for Easter, we were busy preparing for a major infrastructure upgrade. On Sunday night while you were recuperating, we were up flipping the switches to our new systems. Now that we’ve made the switch, we are really excited about the improvements and would like to share some of them with you.
Increased Redundancy We’ve re-architected our application to be hosted from multiple physical locations across the United States. We’ve moved from a single data center in Dallas to two state-of-the-art data centers – one in San Jose, CA and one in Washington, DC. This means that if one data center experiences issues that affect accessibility, all users can be automatically redirected to the other center within minutes. Along with this reliability, we’ve also seen huge increases in performance. Closer Servers = Faster Access Having our servers located in only one place meant that no matter where you were in the world, you had to travel all the way to that server. Now that we have spread our servers to two opposite sides of the country, most everyone will benefit from a server closer to them. We have implemented technology that detects your general location and directs you to the closest server. You can see which datacenter you are being served from by looking at the bottom right-hand side of your page. If you ever want to manually switch over to a different datacenter, all you need to do is change www to either east or west.****
Dedicated, Faster Hardware At our old provider, our system was part of a network that included the servers for many other companies. This is relatively new technology with lots of theoretical benefits, but it also comes with the pitfalls of any new technology – many of which we have unfortunately experienced over the last couple of weeks. One of the worst parts about sharing so many aspects of your environment with other customers “in the cloud” is that other customer’s problems can affect your site’s performance. Now we’re on our own hardware that can keep up with the growing needs of our customers. Right now as I am looking at our server monitoring software and we are using around 10% of our CPU on each machine! This is a huge improvement that we’re incredibly excited about.****
Tomorrow brings more opportunities & challenges and we are excited to meet them… As we grow, we continue to work hard to provide all churches the level of performance and reliability that they need and deserve from their worship planning software. It has been challenging with the large amount of growth we have experienced since our launch, but we have always been excited to meet and exceed your expectations. Next week we will introduce something that we believe will knock your socks off and we look forward to sharing that news with you shortly.
Jeff Berg Owner/Developer Ministry Centered Technologies