Have you ever observed an enormous shopping overload during Black Friday sales? Surveys state that the most of customers prefer shopping online avoiding huge long store lines, – for example, in 2017 online sales rose 18% according to Adobe Systems Inc. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are usually the busiest and profitable shopping days for most retailers, and at the same time it means – “get ready for the load.” The high influx of customer traffic can definitely increase the revenue for your online business. On the other hand, all the previous preparations for this very day as well as huge expenses on marketing and promoting activities could be spoiled if your website in a sudden goes offline just in the middle of the holidays.
Recently swiss.blackfriday shared how they stopped struggling with massive traffic load spikes and successfully generated great income, running their website on Hidora hosting provider powered by Jelastic PaaS.
swiss.blackfriday is the first marketplace of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday offerings from Swiss e-tailers. The website is an aggregator of Black Friday promotions: best online discount deals for more than 200 brands, including all kinds of e-shops, from small ones to market giants like Manor, Globus, Apple, HP, Zara and even Mediamarkt.
So let’s take a glance at the interview with Jérôme Amoudruz, swiss.blackfriday co-founder, and get details of their peak traffic handling.
What Challenges Have You Faced?
For our team, the task was pretty hard: how to handle traffic spikes when you sell more than 200 brands in a single day and even can’t estimate the potential load? It’s not that easy task to evaluate the potential wave of users and the amount of resources you need in order to have continuous uptime. In this case, servers should be carefully chosen.
So how to solve this dilemma: opt a low power server to save money, or choose several powerful servers to be sure that the load won’t bring the website down? Choosing one server can save money, but meanwhile, compromise the website availability at the worst possible time. Opting several servers will help to cope with peak loads. But under-utilization of the servers during the rest of the year will lead to unnecessary expenditure. The main question for us was how to manage the wave of consumers, at the same time not overpaying for servers.
What Goals Were You Trying to Achieve?
It was crucial to avoid a bad user experience caused by the website downtime for 300k visitors during the sales day. To prove being a reliable e-commerce hub, that is always stable and highly-available no matter how many users visit our site.
How Did Hidora’s Scalable Solution Help?
Engineers have created a highly-available cloud environment based on WordPress for running our website on Hidora. The environment topology includes: two load balancers, two databases, and at least two WordPress application servers sharing the same storage space. Hidora Cloud Platform distributes all these components across different physical hosts to guarantee high availability. In addition, MySQL database was automatically replicated, so it saved days of configuration and testing. In the case of traffic spikes, Hidora platform can automatically scale up the existing WordPress instances or even add new nodes (horizontal scaling). Vice versa clusters can be scaled down when the load decreases. Moreover, in contrast to the Amazon Cloud, Hidora stores our data in Switzerland, in according to Swiss legislation, providing an exceptional level of security.
How Did WordPress Handle Spikes?
During the sales day of Black Friday 2017, we’ve received a huge spike of 300K visits including organic and paid sources from all over Switzerland. We had a lot of front and back office activity at this time and the infrastructure coped without any trouble, the spikes were absorbed without reducing response time.
How Did Auto-Scaling Work (both Vertical and Horizontal)?
The challenge of Black Friday was to publish new content as fast as possible and deal our multi-language system, keeping all information up to date. With the auto-scaling system we’ve expected to have a very low latency without discrepancies between versions, and the Hidora System worked perfectly this way.
How Has Your Production Performance Changed?
Before setting up the Hidora System we had a very simple infrastructure with production on a single server. This situation was the same with development. With the Hidora solution, we managed to deploy new releases in a limited time without any issues.
How Did Your Hosting Bill Change with Hidora? Has It Reduced?
We’ve reduced by 30% our infrastructure cost as Hidora powered by Jelastic offers a pay as you use pricing structure. So we do not need to guess how many resources to buy beforehand, we just pay for what we consume. That is one of the best things about Hidora.
How Do You Feel about Not Doing DevOps Anymore?
We think it’s a great news! We are publishers and we need to focus on Content, not IT. With the DevOps team at Hidora, they know our project and the challenges we face, and they are very reactive with limited cost. We don’t need to hire developers with system administration knowledge because Hidora replaces this need.
«The swiss.blackfriday team was very happy to collaborate with Hidora. We have a startup mindset and so do they. It is important to have flexibility and engagement for such a project and the Hidora team offered all this over and above the technical and consulting services. We are very excited to grow, assisted by their support team.»
Jérôme Amoudruz, swiss.blackfriday сo-founder
Don’t Let Your Site Crash!
Rather a stressful challenge, but the solution appeared to be more than just effective: the Swiss company achieved stable uptime during the sales day due to automatic scalability and high availability from Hidora powered by Jelastic PaaS, as well as reduced the total cost spent on cloud hosting.
If your e-commerce project also faces the problem of high load peaks and you haven’t come up with the solution yet, the trial period is more than enough to get a taste for the Platform and ensure it’s worth staying. Choose one of our hosting providers and just test drive it for free. Make sure your website doesn’t get overwhelmed by the traffic spikes in most crucial moments for your business!