Global Hosting Solution Helps E-Commerce Retailer Grow

Note: anonymity is needed so we are referring to this client as Trendy Store.

Trendy Store sells clothing that emphasizes bold, offbeat and trendy designs . They are a rapidly growing global business with an anticipated revenue stream of $4-6 million in 2016. In the next three years, based on capitalization, ad spend, and media exposure, sales are projected to skyrocket, growing Trendy Store to 5–10 times its current size.

When Trendy Store first approached Harris Web Works (HWW), their website was hosted on Shopify, which they had quickly outgrown. They had their eyes on upgrading the site to a Magento platform, to align with their growth needs. Trendy Store realized it would be judicious to have help from an experienced, Magento-certified team, so they partnered with HWW.

HWW’s first challenge was to assist Trendy Store with finding a hosting solution that would help their e-commerce site keep up with their business growth. HWW started by moving Trendy Store from Shopify to a Magento enterprise e-commerce platform deployed on a single server at a midwestern datacenter. This server had the most basic level of architecture for running Magento, making it suitable to handle web requests, file services and database activity, but not ideal for a business with rapidly increasing sales volume. For more on the business benefits of single vs global hosting server configurations, see article.

Since Trendy Store had a growing global base of buyers, HWW presented them with the concept of a global hosting solution. This included educating them on the advantages of a multi-region architecture that runs on Amazon Web Services (AWS). The main horsepower of most Magento enterprise stores is the web server and AWS offers unparalleled infrastructure, with a secure cloud services platform, incredible speed, and immense database storage. Simply put, e-commerce retailers and their customers experience crucial benefits when the website is hosted with AWS: speed, uptime, reliability, and failure-resistance.

Over several months in 2016, HWW and Trendy Store worked together to hone in on the retailer’s goal and build a custom hosting structure that would accommodate those needs.

HWW’s AWS-certified and Magento-Certified programming team built a system with the following characteristics:

  • SPEED: Multi-region deployment with clusters of servers based in the U.S. (Oregon), Europe (Ireland) and Asia-Pacific (Australia) gives customers around the world the same high level of browsing speed and reliability. Amazon Route 53 DNS services route customers to the closest region to shop. For example, a customer in Tokyo gets served from Australia rather than Oregon or Ireland. For customers, browsing closer to home means a faster shopping experience and more conversions.
  • BACK-UP: Situated behind an AWS-managed load-balancer, each region has multiple web servers that provide a layer of redundancy and two database servers that share the database load. This spreads the workload between multiple resources to accommodate routine or unexpected downtime of one or more web servers, without affecting availability of the website in that (or any other) region.
  • ADMIN: Administrative tasks are managed in one region and other regions synchronize with those changes. This means Trendy Store only needs one admin interface, which is located in Oregon.

This system has no single point of failure and every major component has a fail-safe mechanism, which means if one or more web servers or databases go down, the system still runs. In fact, the impact of losing one or two database servers in different regions is not noticed by the customer. If all database servers in one region are unavailable, Amazon would simply send customers to another region to shop. In addition, the web server capacity, globally or within a particular region, can, in a straight forward manner, be scaled up to accommodate increased traffic (whether temporary or permanent), without having to move datacenters or purchase new hardware.

Trendy Store’s website is now smoothly handling many more customers and larger purchases from around the world!