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Agile Computing: Blog Post

High Availability of Web Apps for eCommerce | @CloudExpo [#Cloud]

Real-time flow analysis for high availability and performance can save the day

Downtime Happens - A Close Look at High Availability of Web Apps for eCommerce

Downtime! Most major providers and organizations will face it one way or another. In a recent blog post titled "High Availability of Web Apps for eCommerce Starts with Real-Time Flow Analysis." Atchison Frazer, the VP of marketing at Xangati and a tech exec with years of networking experience, talks about the importance of high availability of e-commerce web applications.

For some of the e-commerce retailers such as Target and Amazon mentioned by Frazer in his post, outages/downtime can cost more than $1,000 of revenue per second. Frazer takes the time to explain both the problem and the solution (and I promise to follow up with a more detailed post if I see enough interest in this one - I always check the analytics side and if people continue to read an article for a certain period of time, I will take the time to do a follow-up).

The Problem
The network is the platform: it's the underpinning of the IT infrastructure that touches everything, from email to financials to corporate and e-commerce web sites. Years of layering on advanced technologies, like unified communications and virtualized data centers, on top of the core IT infrastructure have added levels of complexity, making it sometimes difficult to determine where the bottlenecks are in terms of high availability and performance.

With the advent of Infrastructure-as-a-Services (Iaas), compute, storage and networking power that is essentially leased in the cloud like a utility, and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), on-line development environments in which applications are developed innately in and for the cloud, the iterative problem of how well your web applications perform, degrade with security controls turned on, and avoid traditional latency buffers, has become front and center as the primary choke point to mitigate endpoint quality of service concerns.

Business Implications and Solutions
Opportunity losses of web app downtime: Perhaps the most obvious and damaging cost of downtime, for example to e-commerce retailers, is lost revenue associated with a customer's inability to conduct transactions during an outage. Target.com, for example, has experienced multiple outages. There were also at least two outages during the 2013 holiday season, one of which (according to Rigor) lasted for about two and one-half hours. Rigor used its Uptime Percentage Calculator (located on the Rigor homepage) to determine the outage represented a loss to Target of about $464,000 for 2.5 hours of web ecommerce downtime. In 2013, Amazon.com went down for roughly 25 minutes - costing the e-commerce giant approximately $1,104 of revenue per second. Of the top cloud outages in 2014, three were e-commerce web site related: Adobe Creative Cloud, Verizon Wireless and Microsoft Azure.

  • Opportunity gains of web app uptime: The most important task to ensure app HA is to prioritize ahead of time what applications are mission critical, and indeed, business critical, as a secondary priority, well in advance; properly provisioned, your virtual infrastructure performance tool can determine in real time what service assurance is required to keep web apps up and running, with standard operational response times at the endpoint access layer. With application maintenance costs increasing every year on average by 20%, ensuring that your web apps that ring the register are optimized with real-time performance metrics, versus run-the-business and legacy applications, or even rogue applications, is a critical strategic planning imperative and a sound investment protection maneuver.
  • Business value of redundancy: Many contemporary web apps are born digital, that is either virtualized in a hypervisor or brokered via a public cloud (IaaS) platform, so they - more than any others - should also account for HA redundancy, in the same sense that disaster recovery architectures create exact mirrors of the IT infrastructure, so should your web apps benefit from a DRaaS backup system in the event of first-level failure and all of your web apps can be raised and provisioned in minutes to hours.
  • Application HA data: Running applications through ADC load balancer technology like Citrix NetScaler also delivers the benefit of very rich web-app health status data not just in terms of performance but also across the entire user base with granular access, that make performance monitoring service levels easier, but also aggregates data that can contribute to how usage instances are charged for, making SLAs much more predictive for a managed service provider.

High availability of e-commerce web applications has to be a top priority for enterprises and organizations of all sizes. Whether the task is to avoid complete loss of a service or mitigate potential degradation of a service's performance, HA web app performance solutions rely on the fundamental principle of supplying the real-time data stream necessary to assure resiliency and redundancy to possible points of failure while maintaining high standards of reliability.

More Stories By Georgiana Comsa

Georgiana Comsa is the founder of Silicon Valley PR, a PR agency with a unique focus on the data infrastructure markets. Georgiana's decision to found Silicon Valley PR was based on her own experience as a corporate PR professional working with other PR agencies; she noticed that there was a need for a specialized, rather than a general tech PR firm, with media, analyst, and vendor relationships that would benefit its clients. With Silicon Valley PR, companies get to leverage the power of traditional and digital media relations to generate highly targeted press coverage, contributing to tangible business wins, which help them launch and grow their businesses.

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