Many times we have experienced that while shopping for our favorite phone model, which has been launched exclusively by a particular e-commerce site for a limited period at a great discount, we tend to experience very slow response or at times even fail to transact. This is because millions of other people are hitting the website at the same time and the website is unable to cater to this sudden spike in traffic effectively.
Be it a festival sale or a new product launch or buying air tickets, we all have gone through this undesired experience while navigating a website or while transacting.
E-commerce websites generally experience unpredictable traffic patterns and hence are unable to offer the same user experience every time. The underlying IT infrastructure is not able to meet up to the real-time elasticity of demand and hence upscale and downscale accordingly.
At the same time, the cost of IT infrastructure also adds to the overall cost of operations, and hence it is imperative that underlying IT infrastructure is optimally provisioned.
Cloud computing enables an e-commerce application to cater to the changing demand and scenarios of the market. It allows to upscale or downscale the services according to the demand, traffic, and seasonal spikes. Cloud provides the scalable architecture your business needs.
Today with the advent of hyperscalers like Google, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Microsoft, we have a huge advantage of availing on-demand scalability of the IT infrastructure and pay for what we consume. This makes it extremely relevant for e-commerce businesses to rely on these hyperscalers for their IT infrastructure needs.
If you are considering cloud services to launch your e-commerce business, here are three important acronyms to wrap your head around:
Cloud-based services, pay-as-you-go for services such as compute, storage, networking, and virtualization.
- Example: AWS EC2, AWD S3 for Storage, Google Compute Engine (GCE)
- Characteristics of IaaS:
Highly flexible and scalable
Cost-effective with a lower total cost of ownership
No need to provide manpower to manage IT infrastructure
- When to use IaaS:
IaaS is beneficial to businesses of all shapes and sizes, as it allows complete control over your infrastructure. It operates on a pay-as-you-use model and so it fits into most budgets.
This can be used when you are expecting a surge in traffic such as during a festive season sale or a new product launch.
These are services where hardware and software tools are available over the internet.
- Example: AWS Elastic Beanstalk RDS
- Characteristics of PaaS:
Provides tools and services to developers who intend to quickly build software applications
Build on virtualization of technology
Easy to use without needing system administration knowledge
- When to use PaaS:
PaaS is often the most cost-effective and time-effective way for a developer to create a unique application.
PaaS allows the developer to focus on the creative side of app development, as opposed to menial tasks such as managing software updates or security patches. All of their time and brainpower will go into creating, testing, and deploying the app.
These are services where software is available via a third-party over the internet.
- Example of SaaS: SaaS platforms make software available to users over the internet, usually for a monthly subscription fee. All the maintenance, patch upgrade, security, and compliance are a part of the SaaS subscription.
- Characteristics of SaaS:
Hosted on a third-party server by a third-party software provider
Security, upgrade, versioning and compliance is part of the cost
Scalable for multiple users on demand
- When to use SaaS:
When an e-commerce business needs an “out-of-the-box” application that is ready to use for a specific need such as e-mail, CRM, etc.
Analytics applications to understand the patterns of traffic, customer buying patterns, demographics, etc. can be consumed out of the box.
As an e-commerce player, your core focus should be to build a very robust and reliable eco-system of suppliers, product quality, supply chain, and order fulfillment services. Technology will play a vital role in terms of creating a delightful user experience and eventually impact sales and repeat sales.
However, there are two important aspects that you have to keep in mind - recurring expenses which are predictable, and data security.
While using cloud services, at times you consume so many services that your monthly bill goes out of sight and it tends to surprise you. It is very important to keep on optimizing your cloud resources and services that you are using in order to keep your expenses on the cloud in control.
Similarly, it is imperative to make sure your cloud service provider and you have taken adequate measures from data privacy, security, and compliance standpoint.
(Cover Photo: Freepik)