Originally Written by Tony Barbagallo
For some e-commerce retailers, predicting spikes and dips in traffic is a relatively easy task. A school supplies retailer, for example, can expect a large influx of traffic in August. And many e-commerce retailers anticipate more business than usual toward the end of the year, as customers scramble to purchase gifts for their loved ones.
But retail traffic isn’t always that predictable. What if your business had to deal with traffic spikes on an unpredictable weekly—or even daily—basis?
If you’re a business owner, you’ve got to do all that is within your power to ensure an optimal e-commerce experience for your customers, regardless of how much traffic your site is handling at any point in time. After all, when it comes to the businesses they wish to support, your customers have almost endless choices. One bad experience could drive them away. In fact, research indicates that 89 percent of customers take their business elsewhere following a single poor experience.
Are you sure that your Web server or front-end e-commerce application can handle those kind of spikes in traffic? If you are, it might be time to look at the database engine that’s powering your site’s backend.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at three database technologies and how they attempt to accommodate traffic spikes:
- MySQL: A relational database that promises atomicity, consistency, isolation and durability (ACID) in transactions—a feature that allows users to concurrently query and alter data quickly and consistently. MySQL is not without its limitations; it lacks the ability to horizontally scale or process a large volume of requests simultaneously. In other words, MySQL databases are confined by hard disk performance. Furthermore, such databases aren’t designed for unstructured data, and queries can’t be sorted by relevance.
- NoSQL: When a relational database reaches its capacity, some businesses adopt NoSQL functionality. Though not a relational database and mostly lacking the assurance of ACID transactions, NoSQL provides horizontal scalability and can handle large influxes in volume. It’s also schema-less, meaning it can store unstructured data. As such, NoSQL lends itself nicely to big data. But the technology can’t simultaneously ensure consistency, availability and partition tolerance.
- NewSQL: Taking the best of both worlds, NewSQL is a relational database that boasts horizontal scaling functionality, the assurance of ACID transactions, and the ability to process large volumes of transactions with optimal performance. Additionally, NewSQL empowers businesses to produce comprehensive reports in real time while concurrently handling large influxes in digital traffic. Such functionality ensures that the customer shopping experience is hassle-free by reducing or eliminating any digital delays they might otherwise endure. Meanwhile, decision makers can analyze data for insight into ways to specifically target shoppers with cross-sell and up-sell opportunities.
Business owners who have ruled out problems with Web servers and front-end e-commerce applications, but still wish to easily handle however much traffic comes their way, should consider taking advantage of NewSQL databases. In doing so, you are ensuring an optimal shopping experience while equipping themselves with the tools necessary to help bolster their brand.
But don’t just take our word that NewSQL is your best bet for handling an unpredictable, ever-changing amount of traffic with ease on your e-commerce platform. Click here to read a case study featuring Photobox, a company that switched from MySQL to ClustrixDB and, therefore, reduced its service incidents by 89 percent year-to-year.