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New Reference Architectures For Building Secure, Scalable, Highly Available Online Magento Stores

Whether you are launching your first online store on Magento’s ecommerce platform or you are re-architecting it with Magento Enterprise, you need a cloud or hybrid hosting partner that is seasoned in hosting Magento platforms to build secure, scalable and highly available online stores.

With Rackspace, you are in the hands of a proven Magento hosting partner that has helped more than 1,000 customers globally, ranging from SMBs to Fortune 500 companies. According to a study from ecommerce publishing authority Internet Retailer, Rackspace is currently ranked the No. 1 hosting provider for the Internet Retailer Top 1,000 websites. Rackspace now hosts a greater percentage of the world’s Magento deployments than any other hosting provider. In order to support you even better, Rackspace today has entered into the Magento Hosting Partner program as a platinum level partner.

Magento delivers its best performance on optimized infrastructure. Rackspace ecommerce Hosting Solutions for Magento provide an infrastructure designed to meet Magento’s platform requirements so you can enjoy following benefits:

  1. 100 percent uptime: When your website is your cash register, it has to be open for business—always. This solution can guarantee 100 percent production uptime, provided a recommended topology is deployed.
  2. Faster page load time: Loading ecommerce web pages within two seconds, even during peak load times, is an industry norm. This solution supports faster loading web pages.
  3. Security of sensitive data: eCommerce sites require very secure infrastructure for managing sensitive data, including credit card information. This solution can help you with your PCI compliance needs by providing PCI compliant dedicated infrastructure and third-party payment gateways for cloud infrastructure.
  4. Scalability: The ability to handle sudden and/or seasonal spikes on-demand, especially during the holiday season, is among the most important requirements of your online store. This solution is tailored to accommodate traffic spikes and fluctuations, so the infrastructure feels virtually unlimited.

Anna Carlqvist, a global ecommerce manager at GANT Clothing in UK said, “Within three months of launching the new site built on the Magento platform, GANT’s online orders went up 340 percent. We also saw a 290 percent increase in conversion rates and 35 percent reduction in page load time. Thanks to the infinite scalability of the Rackspace Open Cloud, GANT can scale servers up and down to meet customer needs whilst only paying for what we actually use. This has lead to a 50 percent reduction in hosting costs.”

We used our deep expertise of Magento deployments to launch four new reference architectures that empower you to build word-class ecommerce websites. The architectures marry Magento’s ecommerce platform with industry leading hosting infrastructure from Rackspace. These reference architectures offer you choice in how you want to build your online store and are available in four different levels: Basic, Intermediate, Advanced and Premier. Here, we will explore various design options and the Rackspace products used to build these solutions.

Factors That Influence Solution Design

Various factors influence your choice of hardware for your online ecommerce store. Some of the most important factors to consider include:

1. Which Magento Edition Is Right For You?
You can choose between Magento Community and Magento Enterprise to develop your solution.

How to decide which edition is right for you?
The following URL provides side by side comparisons of Magento Community, Enterprise and Go editions and can help you to make decision:

Comparison of Magento Editions

2. Where To Store Credit Card Data And How To Transmit It
The next important factors to consider are where you want to store credit card data and how you transmit it

Options available for storage
You can store credit card data in a Rackspace data center or use a third-party payment gateway to store credit card information using APIs. You can transmit data either from the server side using APIs or from the client browser before reaching your server.

How do you decide which option is right for you?
One way to determine which option is right for your business is to compare the cost of using a third-party payment gateway with the cost of storing credit card information in a data center. If you process a smaller number of credit card transactions, you might find that using a third-party payment gateway is more economical and the best option, provided it fits within your company policies. If credit card transaction volume is very high, you may find it more cost-efficient to store credit card information in a Rackspace data center and undergo PCI compliance audits. Your company policies and credit card transaction volume, along with other factors not discussed here, can help determine where to store credit card data.

When you choose to transmit credit card information from the server side using APIs, your server infrastructure becomes part of PCI compliance. On the other side, using APIs from client browsers, excludes your server infrastructure from scope of PCI compliance.

3. Max Number Of Concurrent Users
This is the number of customers that can log into your online store simultaneously and place orders without encountering issues related to resource allocation. This is an important consideration when choosing a reference architecture. We recommend designing your system for 1.5 times the peak load that you anticipate in your day to day transactions.

In addition to the factors discussed above, the following business parameters will also influence your reference architecture design choices:

  • Size of catalog
  • Average browsing time per user, (ie. five minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes)
  • Average and peak visitors per day
  • Average orders per day
  • Peak orders per hour and per day
  • Peak orders per hour and per day during the holiday season
  • Number of concurrent users on the Admin Panel
  • Amount of SKUs/product records in catalog
  • Amount of categories

As a rule of thumb, please remember that the number of concurrent users and transactions help to size web servers, and the number of SKUs for sale on the website helps to size the database server.

For more information on how to tune your environment for optimal performance, please contact our Magento Partner Manager at RJ.Rowntree@rackspace.com.

Related Blogs

1) Rackspace Sponsors 2013 Magento Imagine eCommerce Conference
http://www.rackspace.com/blog/rackspace-sponsors-2013-magento-imagine-conference/

2) Sync Your Magento eCommerce Site To Cloud Files And The Akamai CDN
http://www.rackspace.com/blog/easily-sync-server-files-to-the-cloud/

3) eCommerce And Hosting – A Match Made In Internet Heaven
http://www.rackspace.com/blog/ecommerce-and-hosting-a-match-made-in-internet-heaven/

4) Why Rackspace Is The No. 1 Hosting Provider For The Top 1,000 E-Retailers
http://www.rackspace.com/blog/why-rackspace-is-the-no-1-hosting-provider-for-the-top-1000-e-retailers/

About the Author

This is a post written and contributed by Mahesh Gandhe.

Mahesh Gandhe is an experienced technologist with over 12 years of experience in enterprise software. In his current role, he is responsible for solution management initiatives at Rackspace inclusive of defining product portfolio and go-to-market strategy for Rackspace Solutions for eCommerce. Outside of Rackspace, Mahesh runs one marathon a year and plays the Indian percussion instrument “Tabla.” Follow him on Twitter @maheshgandhe


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