In Ecommerce, Performance Means Speed, And Speed Drives Revenue

By Greg Matz, Sales Manager, Digital Options

At Digital Options, performance means speed. We’re a small, family-owned supplier of firewalls, network gear, servers and other Internet-ready technology. We may not be huge, but we serve some serious companies, and we’ve got big ambitions. When it comes to bringing the best technology at the lowest cost to our customers to fit their unique needs, we’ve got to move fast and get things right the first time. Any inventory shortage, slow response times or delay in our ability to deliver translates to lost business.

To handle our ecommerce, we chose Magento. It’s a powerhouse application that fills all of our needs, but it’s also a very demanding piece of software that can get very complex, very quickly. We soon realized that our web site was slow to load, unresponsive at times and practically crawling when it came to customers searching our catalogue. As a result, our SEO and Google AdWords ratings were tumbling, driving business away from us and towards our speedier competitors. We brought in Digital Blitz SEO to help us get to the bottom of the problem.

Digital Blitz recommended calling Rackspace. From the moment we spoke to our first Racker, we were floored by their expertise. Rackspace had the Magento knowledge we needed to tap into. We knew Magento could be a beast to handle at scale, but that didn’t faze Rackspace. They proposed several possible solutions, and didn’t pressure us into choosing the biggest or most expensive. We settled on a simple solution that fit our needs and our budget: two Rackspace Performance Cloud Servers for the web-app and public facing components of Magento and a separate dedicated server to run MySQL. Running the database on a dedicated box made it lightening fast and secure while giving us full root access to managing it. Meanwhile, our Rackspace’s Performance Cloud Servers gave us unbelievable fast response time and nearly limitless scalability.

All this looked good on paper, but migrating the data meant downtime. Rackspace was fully transparent with us about the process they would use to move the data and precisely when we would be down and for how long. The whole thing went off without a hiccup. We always had all the information – before, during and after the move. The best you can hope for in a migration with known downtime is no surprises and that’s exactly what we got. Rackers were more than just Magento specialists – they were migration specialists, too!

Immediately, we saw load times of our website five to eight times faster than what we were previously experiencing. We went from an average load time of 8 seconds with spikes up near 12 seconds to our search utility and site running at about 1.5 seconds. And Digital Blitz was right – our SEO has automatically improved as a result of our page consistently reporting excellent load times. More traffic is coming in, but the user experience is better, too. Customers searching our database of more than 400,000 items actually called to tell us how fast and easy the experience had been, something we had never heard before.

Simply by moving Digital Options’ workloads to a Rackspace Hybrid Cloud, our business is running better than ever. Everything from the shopping experience to logistics and delivery has to be streamlined if we want to stay competitive. Performance means speed to us, and Rackspace delivers.

This is a guest post written and contributed by Greg Matz, Sales Manager at Digital Options, a Rackspace Customer. Since 1994, Digital Options has provided innovative solutions and competitive pricing on new and refurbished products for over 6 Million products in a complex and ever-changing industry. It’s long been a leading provider for UNIX and VMS systems and services, and a multitude of computer, networking, and Internet-ready components, meeting Corporate computing needs from large, medium and small business solutions as well as to spare parts and modules.

Check out Rackspace Digital, Rackspace’s new practice specializing in content, commerce and mobile applications.


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