Norad 2013

Microsoft Azure & Windows 8 Solutions to track Santa:

NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, runs a service to help 'track' the jolly Saint cut across the human race for the period of his thrilling flight to bring happiness and presents to tots across the world.

NORAD Santa Tracker App      

NORAD has been tracking Santa and providing support for his safe journey for over 50 years, and were supported by Google as the technology partner in some of the past years, until Microsoft took over in 2012. Expecting over 80 million hits to the official NORAD Tracks Santa (NTS) website in the month of December 2013, and a peak close to 1.5 - 2 Million hits/sec on December 24th, NORAD needed a platform that was flexible, robust, and scalable on the fly. With this requirement as the priority, Microsoft and NORAD decided to modernize the official website to track Santa (Noradsanta.org) with a game changing experience, and update the Windows 8 NORAD Tracks Santa (NTS) app that can be accessed and used by the public as well as the help center personnel on Dec 24th to Windows 8.1 and update the user experience to be in line with the new website designs, and work with other partners to update the design on the official NORAD Tracks Santa Widows Phone app, and other platform based apps.

Project Details:

iLink worked with Microsoft, NORAD, and other NORAD strategic partners to ensure the completeness of the website and it's features, and that the website is designed, architected and deployed to handle the load, updated UX, and provide the users with the best experience possible.

  • iLink worked with Microsoft and partners in project management, technical architecture lead, updating the UX to a game changing experience website (and mobile applications), and the actual implementation of the UX intensive and impressive website.
  • Azure was chosen as the choice of platform because of its ability to scale up, down and out to meet all of Santa's challenging requirements. With Microsoft Azure, NORAD was able to bring the Santa Tracker online with effective investments in servers and hardware, the flexibility to keep costs down by scaling appropriately, while still having the flexibility necessary to handle the 80+ Million page views from over 20 Million unique users from 235 countries during the month of December 2013 - all on a platform that can deliver the Santa Tracker anywhere in the world on any device.
  • iLink updated the architecture of the Norad Tracks Santa website on Microsoft Azure and CDN.
  • The website and the Windows 8.1 applications were also used heavily by the NORAD support staff and the 1200+ volunteers, including First Lady Michelle Obama, on December 24th 2013, to help track Santa and answer the record breaking 117,000+ calls to the helpdesk from users across the world.
  • Google also implemented its own Santa Tracker website and application this year, and post mortem news articles claim that NORAD’s Santa Tracker beats Google’s Santa Tracker by leaps and bounds.

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