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Black Friday traffic surge handled seamlessly by IRP Commerce Cloud

William Bailie, CTO of IRP Commerce, talks about how the investment in secure, cloud-based infrastructure enables IRP to handle the surge in customer demand seamlessly.
4 min read

Black Friday and Christmas sales are exceeding all expectations. Infrastructure investment is the foundation of that success.

“... IRP Commerce invests at least 30% of its income in hosting.”

At any given time, we invest at least 30% of our income in our secure hosting solution.

Significant investment has allowed us to increase our cloud-based capacity tenfold. This capacity enables us to handle the surge in customer demand seamlessly.

The IRP Commerce Cloud continues to be the best value-add ecommerce platform in the marketplace. Our PCI Level 1, cloud-based infrastructure investment is all part of the great value contained in an IRP Commerce Cloud package.

Rising to meet the challenge

The increased pressure on both retailers and consumers to provide and find the best deals online is greater than ever before – especially considering the unique circumstances in which we find ourselves.

This pressure is felt the entire way through the business and supply chains:

  • Retailers must make sure they have the stock and staff to satisfy their customers.
  • Courier companies need to ensure that orders are delivered quickly and correctly.

As the provider of IRP Commerce Cloud, we’re no different in having to raise our game and rise to the challenge presented.

“... Maximising Black Friday returns to the fullest.”

From our infrastructure team’s standpoint, our goal on Black Friday is in many ways the complete opposite of everyone else in the chain – we want it to be quiet.

If our infrastructure team is no busier than usual, that means our client sites are fast and responsive – and our clients can maximise Black Friday returns to the fullest.

Trusted and secure infrastructure

The IRP Commerce Cloud is hosted on the Azure cloud platform, via our distributor Action Point Ireland in conjunction with Microsoft.

We invest continually to ensure the stability of our platform. We focus on security and procure tried-and-trusted Microsoft Azure products, including the Azure SQL Database, Content Delivery Network (CDN) and many scaling Virtual Machines.

“... Client data is secure.”

We also invest heavily in ensuring the security of our clients’ data – and that of their customers. Annually, we procure an audit by a Qualified Security Assessor (QSA) to ensure our infrastructure, platform and processes are fully compliant with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS).

The fact that we host on a cloud-based platform like Microsoft Azure means we have a great degree of flexibility and power to scale up and down to meet demand.

Responding to bursting traffic

“... Our solution can respond to that demand.”

Generally, we measure our resource usage in terms of our Application Servers and our Azure SQL Database Service. There are of course other resources in our infrastructure, such as Traffic Managers and Load Balancers, but the main investment is in these two core components. Typically, we run:

  • 64-80 Intel Skylake CPUs across our Application Servers, with 128GB-160GB RAM
  • SQL Service, using around 6000 Database Throughput Units (DTU)

For the Black Friday period, we increased this to:

  • 416 CPUs and 838GB RAM in our Application Servers
  • 12,100 DTU for the SQL Service

This represents an extraordinary increase in both processing power and throughput.

The flexibility afforded to us by the Microsoft Azure platform enables this huge step up in our ability to satisfy any client demand.

Investing in secure infrastructure to grows sales

For our infrastructure team at least, Black Friday was quiet.

The infrastructure was under considerable load, with spikes of twenty times the normal demand, but the investment made to scale the capacity ensured that all our clients had the best possible opportunity to maximise their return from this very busy period of the year.

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