Load Testing & Cloud Infrastructure for Online DIY Store

  • Service Load Testing, Cloud Infrastructure Support
  • Customer Global DIY hypermarket brand
  • Year of implementation 2018 – ongoing

Case

An international retail chain experienced difficulties in daily operations. Availability and quality of service for the website were subpar.

Online store functioned correctly, but user experience was far from perfect. Many pages took over 4 seconds to open when the load on the service was higher than daily average. During wide-scale promotions and seasonal user activity peaks, these problems would arise, up to complete unavailability of service. Situation was aggravated by periodic DDoS attacks recorded by customer's IT department.

Company regularly lost customers and revenue from non-placed orders. Customer's in-house IT team did not have enough expertise to maintain highload applications, and decision was made to involve Loovatech engineers.

Customer

One of the major DIY online stores in EMEA, selling household, home improvement, and gardening goods. This global DIY retail brand has been operating around the world for over 50 years. It runs a total of over than 200 hypermarkets around the world. Local branch that we worked with processes about 3 million orders monthly, a significant part of it coming from the online store.

Business problems

  • #1 Loss of customers during marketing campaigns due to site failures.
  • #2 Reduced conversion due to low page loading speed.
  • #3 Periodic DDoS attacks on customer services.
  • #4 Unpredictable impact of new code releases on website performance.

#1

Architecture

Project's primary objectives were to update architecture and introduce modern DevOps practices. It was necessary to set up stable operation of online store and introduce proven process for testing service updates.

A deep monitoring service was set up, making it possible to collect detailed diagnostic information for each user query, as well as collect statistics and analytical data on query processing speed. Service performance bottlenecks were detected on program code level, as well as in queries to databases.

Loovatech experts organized geographically distributed monitoring of website's availability and quality of service, assessing page load speed from different locations.

These changes made it possible to adapt application architecture for intensive workload, as well as provide customer's in-house development and operational teams with diagnostic tools and best practices. All this allowed for performing a quick analysis of emerging performance problems, accurately identifying their root causes and eliminating problems in the shortest possible time.

As a result, customer was offered a newly-designed and tested architecture model with emphasis on fault tolerance. This model provided distribution of infrastructure resources between two data centers in active-active mode with automatic data replication and traffic redirection mechanisms in the event of partial or complete infrastructure failure at one of the data centers.

#2

Load testing

Transition to a fault-tolerant architecture was completed routinely in just 3 months. This allowed Loovatech engineering team to focus on load testing.

It was necessary to ensure 100% transparency and predictability of online store's further development. It is important to consider risks and understand how particular update may affect speed, performance and quality of service for end users.

A separate environment was created for testing all subsequent updates to the online store. At least two releases of the project would pass through the load test every month. Before each new release, Loovatech experts conducted load testing and recorded result dynamics to ensure optimal performance of each application update.

#3

Result

Updated architecture and implemented practice of regular load testing helped customer better cope with current load. User experience for end-users has improved,  average page load time decreased, and retailer stopped losing customers.

Project performance

Annual website availability increased from 98.5% to the industry standard of 99.93%. Average page load time during advertising campaigns and promotions with seasonal peaks due influx of users dropped from 2.5 to 1.2 seconds. Maximum page load time dropped from 10+ to 1.6-1.8 seconds.

Fault tolerance

As a result of regular load testing, there have been at least 7 occurrences of Loovatech experts preventing delivery of application changes which could significantly hinder online store's performance under load. About 15,000 queries per minute are recorded on an average weekday. During promotional days, this figure exceeded 75,000. According to automated monitoring systems, users request 13,000 pages per minute on average without hampering online store's performance.

Business result

  • 99.99% is now website's current uptime.
  • 5.5X increase in the average page loading speed
  • 100% availability during special promotions, including Black Friday.
  • 7 updates which would hurt store performance were prevented from shipping

Technology stack

  • Backend PHP 7
  • CMS Magento
  • DevOps Ansible, Shell
  • Storage MySQL, Redis
  • DNS Failover AWS Route53
  • DDoS Protection Orange Business Services
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Digital Transformation

Processes are time-consuming

Routine processes in production, sales, marketing or communicating between departments take a lot of time.
Digital Transformation

Human factor is an issue

Employees do the same actions in different ways, and there is a lot of human error.
Digital Transformation

There's duplication of work

Several systems and interfaces are needed to solve a single task, and switching between them takes time.
Digital Transformation

Productivity is low

There is lack of consistency and order; time-consuming information search and processing reduce the productivity of employees.

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Loovatech services

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