Leveraging AWS technology to achieve high performance in an eCommerce site globally
This case study outlines how migrating to AWS helped Wild Rover Travel achieve high performance and scalability for their new WordPress eCommerce (WooCommerce) platform. The site needed high performance at launch with the ability to scale and with low latency content delivery across the EU.
Benchmark testing ahead of the launch of their new eCommerce site led Wild Rover Travel to the conclusion that their existing website server architecture had poor performance. The site was image heavy as would be expected in the industry they operate within but the delivery of content was slowing down the site significantly causing poor UX.
Also given that this was completely new site, the company needed some assurance that if the site traffic was to grow fast (which it proved to) that their architecture could grow with it and the network resources managed with limited site disruption.
Proposed Solution & Architecture
Echo Media proposed a solution that would be implemented over the course a 12 month period. This approach meant that usage data gathered could help shape the architecture - essentially a user led solution. Initially the architecture was to consist of an EC2/RDS/S3/CloudFront setup to improve server, database and content delivery performance but also to deal with ongoing network management e.g. point in time roll backs etc. as required.
Over the course of the subsequent months services including Lambda (automation of process's), CloudWatch/Cloudtrail (monitoring), Route 53 (A/B Testing), CodePipeline (Git). Cloud9 (IDE) were adopted and existing services amended to best suit the case.
Outcomes & Success Metrics
This site has seen exponential growth month on month and yet the platform has experienced little or no Cloud service downtime which could adversely affect users. The adoption of more services, particularly Lambda which now handles the majority of scheduled tasks, was seamless.
The site is about to enter a second phase of development and the client has no concerns about building on the existing continuous integration / continuous deployment CI/CD approach which managed phase 1 so well.
Echo Media used the TCO calculator to run comparisons against like for like providers to best demonstrate the cost benefits of adopting AWS. The provider the client was using initially did not provide a comparable service so this could not be used for cost comparisons - only to highlight the specification benefits. The same tool will be used again however on this project when the next major phase of server architecture expansion occurs.
www.wildrovertravel.com is an image heavy site so the biggest challenge from a performance perspective is to manage the content delivery. Our initial approach was to use CloudFront and its extensive edge locations to manage delivery by requesting media directly from the EC2 instance. As the media library grew however, the instance came under increased pressure and it became clear that the content needed to be moved to storage and removed from the instance itself.
This was the most significant learning outcome from this project so far. Image heavy platforms get significantly increased performance from offloading media to S3 and placing the CDN in front of the S3 bucket.