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What Does it Mean to Have a Scalable eCommerce Database?

Your database directly affects your site’s ability to scale

The Scalability of Your eCommerce Database Matters

scalable databaseScalability is key when deciding on your eCommerce platform. Your eCommerce website needs to be able to change and grow in order to meet demand. One of the critical components that will directly affect your eCommerce platform’s scalability is its database. Since the database is a central part of your eCommerce platform, its own ability to scale will impact how well your eCommerce site is able to expand. In order to judge the scalability of your database, there are some main capabilities to look for.

Built to Dynamically Scale

Scalability of Entities, Fields & Relationships

Your eCommerce database is full of fields of information, information about your products, such as sizes, colors, and quantities, as well as information about your customers, such as names, payment information and contact information. But what happens when you need to add more products and acquire more customers? Your database needs to be able to scale easily, preferably without the need of developer intervention, to accommodate the growth. The same is true for data relationships. Your database needs to allow for administrators to easily add relationships that add new workflows, without needing IT support to help make it happen.

Redundancy & Failover

Scalability of Database Infrastructure

Your database infrastructure also needs to have scaling capabilities. One way is through load balancing. Loading balancing, which is having data spread out over several servers, can help handle a large demand on your eCommerce site. In the dreaded event that the database does fail, having a failover option where a backup server takes over the role of the database will ensure that your eCommerce site is always available. Another option to consider that could greatly increase the scalability of your database infrastructure is a cloud based database. A cloud infrastructure is highly scalable because whenever your business grows, so does the cloud holding all of the information. Whatever kind of database infrastructure your business chooses to use, it is important to know the maximum load that your database can handle based on your system.

Locking and Input/Output Speeds

When choosing a scalable database, you need to consider its locking and input/output (IO) speeds, its underlying hardware, and how it handles processing requests. The best way to process requests is to use solid state hard drive configuration for IO requests, such as transactions. If the hardware and software capacity isn’t enough to deal with the demand for IO, locking can become an issue. By optimizing requests to minimize their demand on the database server, you can improve scalability.

Caching and Indexing

Caching and indexing can also help increase scalability because they reduce demand on hardware resources. Creating a cache of commonly requested queries means that the output is on hand instead of having to be retrieved when it is requested. Enabling indexing and intelligent caching can help handle high frequency transactions. Using the right tools, high frequency or high cost transactions can be identified and intercepted. Then the cached and indexed information will be used to help complete the transaction instead of putting extra demand on the hardware resources. Having these enhancements put in place helps the database to be able to grow and scale better.

What if it Doesn't Scale?

Unfortunately, an eCommerce database that doesn’t scale well can mean disaster for your online business. If your eCommerce site isn’t able to grow to keep up with demand, the site could basically freeze up and crash because of the load being put on your servers. A crashed website could lead to lost sales and lost customers. Beyond that, bumping up against the limits of an unscalable eCommerce platform will mean needing to rip and replace it, which is a huge time and money cost. Choosing a platform built for growth up front can save a lot of trouble down the road. By having a database that is able to scale well because of its ability to scale database fields and relationships as well as having the right database infrastructure, you can be sure that your eCommerce site will be able to handle growth when demand for your site grows.

Database Design Experts

Clarity Can Help

At Clarity, we understand that scalability can make a huge difference for your company’s profits and growth potential. Our team of experts knows how important website and database scalability are to help your business develop and would love to learn more about your business’s scalability needs. If you are looking for an eCommerce solution that can grow with your online business, call or click to contact us today!

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