logo

Improving the Production Infrastructure of E-commerce Solutions for an International Publishing House

This case study examines the optimization of a major international publishing house's e-commerce infrastructure, which suffered from significant performance issues due to an outdated single-server setup. Our job was to optimize the page load time and system reliability by enhancing the server capacity, and introducing automated deployment processes.
icon
Challenge

Client Profile

Our client is a publisher with presence in both the US and the UK, producing a wide array of print and digital content. It specializes in creating and distributing books, journals, and various educational materials.

The client turned to us with a request to add new features to their e-commerce application and to speed up the performance of their website. Their existing legacy infrastructure was overweight and caused significant performance issues: for example, it took about 5 seconds to load the page on a client's website.

1. Outdated and Constrained IT Infrastructure:

- Single-Server Architecture:

The client relied on an outdated single-server setup that lacked necessary scalability for handling increasing online traffic, essential for supporting their growing e-commerce activities.

- Single Server Dependency:

Both the database and the application were confined to the same server, leading to strain and performance issues.

- Scalability Issues:

The infrastructure lacked horizontal scaling capabilities, limiting expansion to only vertical scaling—adding more resources to the existing server.

01_Pub.jpg

2. Technical Incompatibilities and Complexities:

- Mixed PHP Framework Conflicts:

The use of two distinct PHP frameworks for different functionalities caused compatibility issues, complicating integration and maintenance.

- Snowball Server:

Accumulated, untracked changes over time made it impossible to know the server's exact state or reproduce its environment, complicating upgrades and maintenance.

3. Severe Performance Limitations:

- Performance Bottlenecks:

The server, burdened with legacy configurations and not suited for modern demands, suffered from slow response times during peak traffic periods and frequent system overloads, resulting in poor user experiences and potential revenue losses.

4. Operational Risk and Management Challenges:

- Lack of Documentation and Processes:

Absence of structured documentation and processes for server setup made it difficult to manage, restore, or replicate the environment if needed.

- Risk of Downtime:

The risk of significant downtime was high, as there were no procedures to quickly restore or replicate the server environment in case of failure.

5. Barriers to Digital Expansion:

Impediment to Growth: The combination of outdated infrastructure, technical complexities, and risk of downtime formed major barriers to the client's strategic goal of expanding their digital presence in a competitive market.

icon
Solution

We addressed the significant performance issues by removing unnecessary services and fine-tuning the server's settings. To overcome the limitations of the single-server setup, we used vertical scaling by adding more RAM and improving its processing power. This upgrade was essential to handle the growing amount of traffic and to ensure consistent performance, keeping the system reliable as more users access the platform.

We developed detailed documentation of the system's architecture and operational procedures to reduce risks from the previously complex setup. We also standardized processes for system updates and deployments to improve consistency and reliability in operations.

Features

1. System and Configuration Tuning

Implemented optimizations on installed systems and configurations. This included removing unnecessary components and fine-tuning settings to enhance overall performance and system response times.

2. Infrastructure Revisit

Increased the server's resources, which directly addressed performance limitations and improved handling of higher loads.

3. Automated Deployment Processes

02_Pub.jpg

We implemented automated deployment processes to streamline updates and maintenance, reducing the risk of human error and downtime during deployment. This automation also facilitated a more consistent and repeatable environment for future deployments.

icon
Impact

Result

Faster Response Times

The optimizations and configuration adjustments led to a 30% faster server response time. This change was crucial during busy periods, helping to eliminate common delays and maintain a smooth user experience.

Resource Efficiency

By removing unnecessary processes, we freed up about 20% of CPU and memory resources. This improvement made data processing faster and allowed the server to handle user requests more efficiently.

Enhanced Server Performance

To address immediate operational challenges, we conducted a quick infrastructure audit and fortified the server's infrastructure by adding 16GB of RAM and upgrading key resources, which increased the server’s handling capacity by 50%. This not only addressed immediate challenges but also equipped the system for future demands, ensuring reliable performance and uninterrupted service during peak times.

Confirmed Improvements Testing after the project average page load within a second, showing great improvement from initial 5 seconds, greatly improving the user experience. Additionally, the system maintained 99.9% uptime during peak traffic, a significant improvement from before.

Prepared for Future Expansion We've laid the groundwork and developed plans for this important update. This future change is expected to cut load times by another 20% and reduce server load by 30%, preparing the client well for continued growth.

icon
Tech Stack

Development Process

1. Optimization of Existing Configurations

Analyzed and fine-tuned the software and server settings to enhance system performance, focusing on eliminating inefficiencies that caused slowdowns during high usage periods.

2. Removal of Unnecessary Processes

Identified and eliminated outdated or unnecessary services and processes that were using up system resources, thereby improving the efficiency of the processor and memory.

3. Enhancing Capacity

We quickly upgraded the server by adding 16GB of RAM and other key resources, boosting its capacity by 50%. This enhancement not only addressed immediate challenges, but also prepared the system for future demands, ensuring it can effortlessly manage heavier workloads and traffic spikes.

4. Documentation and Cleanup

Developed detailed documentation of the server’s configuration and the optimizations made, to aid in better system management and provide a clear reference for system operations.

5. Testing and Validation

Conducted tests to verify that the optimizations and additional resources effectively improved the website's performance, notably reducing loading times and increasing reliability during high-traffic times.

We revamped an e-commerce platform for a top publisher, hosting their server capacity and load time by more than 50%.