How smart load balancer choices make e-Commerce painless for SMBs
Article by Kemp APAC regional director Tony Sandberg
Conservative estimates put the number of people and businesses that buy goods and services on the Internet as well into hundreds of millions.
Several high profile experts are estimating the dollar value of these transactions to be in several hundreds of billions.
Any small or medium business (SMB) entering the e-Commerce world, faces a unique set of technical and business challenges to the design and management of its web and application infrastructure.
In terms of technology, inadequate server capacity, scalability concerns and fault-tolerant reliability, as well as the increasing size and complexity of e-Commerce applications, continue to place added pressures on already overburdened IT staff and budget.
A properly functioning site that is continuously up-and-running while providing optimum performance, is the key factor to the success of any e-Commerce initiative.
Site users need to receive a consistently positive experience in performance and accessibility.
Sluggishness in performance, or inability to complete a transaction for any reason, will invariably cause potential buyers to go elsewhere, with potentially disastrous results to the business’s bottom-line.
Over the past five years, application delivery and server load balancers have emerged as one of the most important technologies for solving the problems of performance and accessibility for e-Commerce applications.
In its most basic form, a load balancer directs users to the best performing accessible server.
Should one of the servers (or applications on that server) become inaccessible, the load balancer will take that server off-line, while automatically re-routing users to other functioning servers.
In addition, using various load balancing algorithms, an intelligent load balancer can distribute users to servers that offer the best possible performance by dynamically interrogating key server elements such as number of concurrent connections and CPU/memory utilisation.
To further enhance and secure the user experience, more advanced load balancers also provide SSL acceleration.
SSL acceleration in the load balancer enables a business to offload the SSL handshake and encryption/decryption processes from the e-Commerce application servers.
This offloading dramatically increases the servers, while decreasing the time and costs associated with server's SSL certificate management.
For years, large corporations and institutions with e-Commerce initiatives were able to take advantage of server load balancing technology to significantly improve the performance, availability and scalability of their sites.
However, at an average cost of over $US40,000 per each redundant configuration, deploying intelligent server load balancing required fairly deep pockets.
For a small-to-medium sized business, the high cost of acquisition placed this technology out of reach.
However, that has all changed with Kemp Technologies' introduction of the LoadMaster.
Integrating powerful, stable, full-featured application delivery and server load balancing with the latest advancements in layer-7 content switching and SSL acceleration technologies, Kemp has created an ideal product for the small-to-medium e-Commerce business.
At a starting price of AUD5,000 for a virtual version and less than AUD8,000 for a hardware solution, both including first-year support, the LoadMaster family of products bring affordable, advanced e-Commerce technology to small to medium businesses.