For many online retailers, the festive season is the single biggest point of the year for online sales. It is the only point in the calendar when everybody is looking to buy gifts and with many flocking to online retailers to purchase gifts rather than go to high street outlets, having an IT infrastructure in place that is able to cope through the festive season is vital.
The cloud is the most viable option for many businesses and is able to provide a number of benefits that will be able to support your business through this busy period, allowing you to place the emphasis on providing a high level of customer service rather than having to worry about whether customers can access your site or not.
Scale up only when you need to
With many more shoppers piling on to the Internet than usual, the festive season is bound to bring you a new round of load spikes that can threaten the stability of your website. So that you can ensure a smooth experience for everyone accessing your website, you should always have contingencies in place for the festive season so that you are able to handle these load spikes effectively so that you can actively encourage an increase in visitor numbers.
The issue with contingency plans previously has been that they require a lot of foresight and capital in order for additional capacity to be added well in advance of the festive season, with infrastructure engineers not really having any idea as to whether the additional components are adequate for the predicted surge of visitors, or if too much additional capacity has been introduced. This can result in money and time being wasted. In the cloud, you can scale up your systems as you deem necessary and without the need for any pre-planning. Previous contingency plans more often than not incurred the need for downtime in order for the additional capacity to be procured, but in the cloud new resources can be added to virtual machines in mere seconds and without zero downtime.
Whilst downtime can result in lost business at any time of year, it is a particularly toxic thought during the festive season. As we’ve already discussed, your visitor count during the festive season is going to be higher than it would be at any other time of year, so if your website was to become unavailable during this period then the impact on your business would be more potent that it would be at any other time of year. With this in mind, the cloud can once again come to your rescue.
The infrastructure of the cloud is designed to provide 100% uptime, removing any anxieties that you may have about the availability of your website. For the most part if there are any issues with the cloud then you probably won’t notice them as virtual machines can be herded around the cloud like sheep – if the VMs on one node fail, they can automatically moved over to another node automatically so that you as the customer don’t notice any disruption.
Reduce costs and maximise profit
With the festive season contributing a significant amount to many firms’ revenues, it represents a real opportunity to maximise potential profit. The hosting infrastructure that you employ for your website will be one of your major expenses during the festive season, but there are always one ways in which you can reduce this expense.
Cue the cloud. By adopting cloud hosting prior to the festive season, you will be able to plan an infrastructure that will reduce your overall hosting costs whilst providing an environment that will allow you to let more people through, therefore increasing potential revenues.