Consumers love online retailers because they are fast and convenient. Searching for products is instant and there are no queues to wait in. It’s simply a case of selecting the product, paying and waiting for the delivery. In theory, at least.
Unfortunately, it is all too common for online retailers to end up being a victim of their own success. A new, relatively small online store powered by an open source eCommerce script such as WooCommerce, osCommerce or Magento, and hosted on a standard business hosting package or even a robust dedicated server, should be able to handle most of the traffic it sees. However, when the retailer runs a special offer, takes part in “Cyber Monday” sales or attracts the attention of money-saving communities such as HotUKDeals or Money Saving Expert, the sudden spike in traffic can bring the server down or cause long loading times.
Why Does Scalability Matter?
It would not make financial sense for a smaller online retailer to invest in a server that is capable of handling hundreds of thousands of visitors per day if their usual utilisation level is far lower than that. So, rather than over-provisioning when it comes to server technology, smarter business owners are looking to the cloud instead.
The idea of software as a service is something that has been around for a long time. Storage as a service is also gaining popularity thanks to the number of backup programmes and cloud storage solutions available at both the consumer and enterprise levels. However, it is only recently, thanks to the growth of Amazon EC2 and eBay’s OpenStack, that infrastructure as-a-service has become a viable option for medium-sized ecommerce retailers.
By offering low cost, on-demand storage, data transfer and processor time, cloud services providers allow eCommerce business owners to enjoy reliable, scalable hosting where they pay only for the power they use. So, during times of normal demand, their costs are minimal whilst at peak times such as special offers, promotions, or seasonal sales activities, the website owner is able to take advantage of additional server provisioning on a short-term basis, with no interruption to their service from the end-user’s perspective. They pay for this extra time, and downscale again when the demand returns to normal levels.
Any web application that can run on a standard server can take advantage of cloud services, so why not explore cloud deployment in the context of your own business?
Radweb are experts in deploying full-scale infrastructures based on Amazon Web Services and are Amazon Technology Partners. Talk to us about your business and we’ll show you exactly how you can prepare your infrastructure for the future.