One of the most important ways for businesses and consumers to stay connected during COVID-19 has been through email. When preparing our communication platform for the Christmas season, we took this increased responsibility to heart.
A few months before the Black Friday weekend, we tested and optimized our infrastructure. Similar to previous years We followed every anomaly and followed up every lead we uncovered to ensure stability, availability and performance on our platform. We prepared for the holiday traffic that no one could predict with a high degree of certainty.
All these preparations have paid off – the volume our customers produced over the holiday weekend was unprecedented in the history of Twilio SendGrid.
We processed more than 22 billion emails over the entire Black Friday weekend.
On Black Friday 2020, we processed 5.8 billion emails in 24 hours, and on Cyber Monday we processed 5.7 billion emails in 24 hours – up 41% and 36% respectively 2019.
That’s 2.8 emails per person on earth! In our rush hour, we processed over 415 million emails and did so without any measurable increase in our delivery time. The sheer volume of mail delivered means We absolutely beat the previous record of 116 Gbps with our new record of 262 Gbps for sustained traffic to inboxes.
Delivery with peer
This year we’ve made changes at every level of our stack to give our customers the best possible experience on our busiest weekend. Twilio SendGrid operates its own data centers that allow us to own and manage every level of our infrastructure.
In this way, we can optimize and optimize the infrastructure in order to achieve first-class performance for the delivery of emails under the highest loads. One of the most important changes we made this year was at our network level.
The majority of all emails are delivered over the public Internet. However, due to our size and infrastructure, we have started to work directly with mailbox providers in our network layer.
Peering allows two networks to directly connect and exchange traffic without having to send traffic over the Internet.
Private peering offers improved reliability and performance benefits for deployment and in-peer networks.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of peering is reliability. When we ship to Google, Yahoo, and Apple inboxes, we default to using our private fiber optic cables straight from our router to theirs. Not only is this a shorter path in the network, but it is also a less complex one. Compared to transit over the public internet There are far fewer routers and links that have to cross our bits to get to an inbox that we work with. The end result is greater reliability, both against errors and against degraded performance.
Only in the very rare event that both our active and redundant fiber optic circuits fail do we reduce transit over the public internet (the default setting and the only way the vast majority of other emails are delivered). This gives us unparalleled reliability in accessing the largest inbox provider, Google, as well as Yahoo and Apple via Internet Exchange.
Reliability isn’t the only benefit peering offers. After we lit the fiber for Google, our connection time dropped significantly. Our connection time for delivery to Google inboxes is now 21% faster than it was before our Peered Circuit lit up.
Our Google Inbox connection time is now 21% faster.
This has helped us hit our new Black Friday records.
Peering doesn’t just help with delivery. Our colleagues at Google and Amazon also ensure higher reliability and performance for our customers who work in their cloud offerings. If you’re in AWS or GCP and deliver over half of our presence points, your email will arrive on one of these private lines. This means that Twilio SendGrid customers using AWS or GCP will get the same benefits when calling our APIs.
Looking back at 2020
This year has massively changed the way we live and increased our reliance on technology in our daily lives. More than ever, digital communication determines how we work, how we make connections with one another and how we interact with the companies and products we consume. In uncertain times like these, reliability and stability become even more valuable as people rely on networked communication for every aspect of their lives.
As I reflect on our preparations for Black Friday 2020 and Cyber Monday 2020, I take pride in our ability to continue to support our customers’ email delivery through unprecedented uncertainty and significant growth.