Thanks to the amazing adoption of smart phones by Indian consumers as a means to make online purchases, India has emerged as the most promising e-commerce market across all markets in Asia-Pacific region. This is confirmed in the latest Gartner report that proceeds to state that the whopping $3.5 billion Indian e-commerce market is phenomenally growing at the rate of almost 70 percent with every passing year.

Understanding the impact of resource starvation in e-commerce

The growth can also be attributed to the massive increase in online spend in addition to growth in overall number of online purchasers. Demand spikes are order of the day due to a plethora of festivals and seasonal factors backed by frequent promotional campaigns planned by e-commerce stores.

The downside to this glorious picture is the frequent incidences of website crashes due to unmanageable demands resulting in unusually high volumes of traffic as well as millions of concurrent hits. Flipkart, one of the major e-commerce players in India, has suffered website crash on multiple occasions due to this.  

More recently it faced multiple crashes on a single day that brought more than 1.5 million customers to the site in a single day and equal number of visitors that were left cursing the online shop due to non availability of the website. The ordeal can be attributed to lack of effective scaling due to glitches in servers. There was no dearth of careful preparations on part of Flipkart. It had prepared itself by deploying as many as 5000 servers only for the single day of Big Billion Sale.

It is observed that in spite of meticulous planning and carefully conducted stress tests, several e-commerce sites have experienced similar crashes during special promotion days. This only goes to prove that stress tests are not as reliable as they seem to be and cannot capture the inordinately huge demands. At the end of the day, the e-commerce store stands to lose millions of dollars on account of inaccessibility by users.

Common challenges posed by IT infrastructure of online enterprises

Any e-commerce store website is backed by a web server as well as number of other servers to facilitate various functionalities including, applications and databases. These servers are put in place after careful capacity planning to cater to an above average number of visitors on any particular day. The main challenge faced by e-commerce companies is to determine optimum level of resource provisioning that can support traffic surge during period of special campaigns. These companies are constantly under pressure to maintain the growth curve and simultaneously keep capacity utilization under control.

Auto-scalable cloud solutions- Effective solution to problem

It is not difficult to understand the meaning of auto-scaling because it is self explanatory. It is more of an art than science of upward and downward capacity=scaling in response to fluctuations in demand. It is quite possible to spin up additional servers instantly by using cloud elasticity for efficient management of peak demand patterns. Alternatively these servers can also be de-commissioned as soon as the demand subsides.

This also calls for relevant modifications in e-commerce software to make sure that it intelligently adapts itself to cloud changes and exploits the benefits of on-demand scalability. The huge cluster of cloud behaves as a unified resource to facilitate e-commerce website to independently scale different resources of network capacity, compute power, and storage.

Predefined conditions can be determined by understanding multiple parameters such as storage space, CPU consumption, and network utilization. The auto-scaling cloud is the most important resource for e-commerce industry, because it ensures uninterrupted resource provisioning by preventing over-utilization or excess provisioning of vital resources.

Auto-scaling clouds provide resources in relation to the server load and facilitate e-commerce enterprises to tweak server’s RAM and CPU instantly in real-time. The pay-as-you-use model is extremely beneficial for mitigation of CTO without impacting overall resource availability in spite of erratic resource fluctuations. The beauty of auto-scaling cloud solution lies in the proactive response that ensures activation of scaling well before a website is about to be starved of resources. It would be apt to consider ESDS’s eNight Cloud facilitates hassle free operations including starting up as well as running resources backed by high end algorithms.

Takeaway

We may summarize striking advantages of auto-scaling clouds as:

  - Instant resource provisioning

  - Mitigation of excess resource allocation with improved ability to enhance resource capacity

  - Enables scaling of virtual servers

  - Low CAPEX and reduced OPEX due to utility based payment model

  - Obviates human intervention

  - Reliable security and SLA backed services

  - Prevents server or hardware crashes due to proactive performance monitoring

  - Assured business availability

Smaller or start-up e-commerce merchants can acquire cutting edge capabilities at par with larger players by availing auto-scaling in cloud. E-commerce enterprises can easily leverage auto scaling to ensure unhindered business availability irrespective of demand status without over provisioning or under provisioning opf resources.