The Challenge of Super-Scale

How Budget Challenge Scaled 50x to over 200,000 Users in the Cloud

Budget Challenge Logo

Database/Web Optimization
Load Testing - Performance Architecture

PointClick and IowaComputerGurus were knowledgeable, flexible and extremely responsive on an around-the-clock basis.

— Dave Buten:
Budget Challenge

Mission: Scale to New Partnerships & Opportunities

Budget Challenge had a unique offering and a unique opportunity. Operating as a small business, things were going well. But suddenly, they had an opportunity to partner with a nationwide enterprise and gain national television exposure all at once.

That meant going from a few thousand users to potentially hundreds of thousands overnight. Failure to deliver would mean a wasted opportunity. If they could pull it off, it would mean instant, enterprise-class success. They made the deal, but with the televised date approaching, nothing was guaranteed, and the clock was ticking.

Financial Growth

Strategic Objectives

  • National exposure means national success or public failure, so website failure and downtime needed to be avoided
  • Databases needed to be able to store tens of thousands of entries in real time to support new users
  • Databases needed to securely accept and store sensitive information
  • The opportunity was great, but the amount of success was unknown, so cost containment was important

Tactical Objectives

  • The website needed an architecture that would handle the potential load with manageable, flexible costs
  • The databases needed to be completely re-structured to improve efficiency and performance
  • Since the website and databases stored financial information, security was critical at all levels
  • Every aspect of the project needed to be extensible – allocating resources as and when needed

Finding Solution Partners to Carry the Load

Even the fastest-scaling enterprises usually have months or years to adapt their technology and systems to rapidly increasing demand. The unique nature of this opportunity required Budget Challenge to plan for the possibility of 50x growth coming literally overnight.

Recommendations from the DNN, hosting, and development communities led Budget Challenge to IowaComputerGurus and PointClick Technologies. Together, they quickly realized that the solution would require a dedicated SQL Cluster and DNN/Evoq installation on a redundant cloud farm infrastructure.

Technology stack image

"IowaComputerGurus dug deeper into the server configuration and database code, specifically looking at core configurations of ASP. NET, IIS and the Windows servers. After a few modifications, the application soon achieved stunning performance and became capable of handling 50,000 concurrent users ...”

-- Dave Buten: Budget Challenge

Project Management and Azure Logo

High Performance Implementation & Testing

The process began with benchmarking the performance of the existing DNN CMS, applications, and database. Step two involved migrating to a new, robust cloud environment and the implementation of proven best practices across the entire technology stack. This yielded promising results, but nowhere near enough.

ICG brought a series of performance tools and load testing service to bear. With each round of testing, new bottlenecks potential optimizations were revealed. This iterative process resulted in substantial speed and performance increases.

Performance & Scalability Experience

There is big value in having a deep understanding of the technology being deployed. IowaComputerGurus is staffed with recognized experts on the entire Microsoft technology stack — from operating system to the services and applications that run on it. This level of experience is about knowing where to look, what tools to deploy, and which adjustments deliver the biggest results.

But it is also about knowing what not to do and having the resources and connections built by more than a decade of working under the hood building better solutions.

Comp Logos

Result - Mission Accomplished

50,000 +

Concurrent Users

85,000 +

Page Views Per Hour

> 500x

Increased Load Capacity

< 1sec

Average Page Load


Cloud Based


Less Infrastructure Overhead

The partnership was a huge success and the website exceeded expectations. Said another way, many people can build a go-cart and a skilled mechanic can fix your car, but it takes a higher level of experience and skill to build a Ferrari.