We’re getting to the time of year when shopping will be on the mind of most American families. Black Friday is just around the corner and Christmas will be upon us before we know it. Brick-and-mortar stores will be thronging with gift buyers and eCommerce stores will see more traffic than at any other time of the year. And, therein lies a problem.
For eCommerce businesses in a market with seasonal traffic spikes, managing infrastructure provisioning so that stores stay stable, available, and perform well is of prime concern. But, maintaining a great experience on a site all year round can also mean having a lot of wasted capacity at slower times of the year.
Cloud servers present a perfect solution to the problem of variable capacity.
Fixed, traditional infrastructure has its strengths, but also a major weakness in that it can be tricky to responsively scale to meet demand. While outward scaling is usually fairly easy to manage with dedicated servers, scaling back down can be a bit more problematic, especially because fixed price infrastructure is usually billed monthly.
Here’s how cloud service can help a business get over the holiday bump without committing it to long-term infrastructure investment.
A typical infrastructure model for a busy store has a number of application or web servers sitting behind a load balancer that shares out requests. On the busiest days, a site may well need more Web servers than usual. With cloud server technology, it’s almost trivial to spin up a new node. It doesn’t take much more than the click of a button. The store can react hour-by-hour to demand, scaling up or down to reflect traffic levels. If a store needs 10 additional cloud servers to meet to the pre-Christmas rush, that’s no problem. When traffic drops to a trickle on Christmas Day, the site can spin down the extra capacity just as easily.
Businesses are more than happy to pay for extra resources when they are generating revenue, but naturally they don’t like to pay for idle servers. Because cloud server hosting is paid for in hourly increments rather than monthly, a business will only spend money to make money.
If you’ve ever decided to do your Christmas shopping online, only to be faced with eCommerce stores that make you feel like you’re wading through treacle, you’ll know how your customers will feel if you fail to scale. Cloud servers can empower your business to provide an unbeatable shopping experience all year without paying for IT infrastructure to sit idle during the fallow periods.