As more people live essential parts of their lives online, their expectations for website performance and user experience rise. These heightened expectations can impact business success.
For example, according to one study, 47 percent of visitors expect your website to load in 2 seconds or less—and if it doesn’t, they’ll have no problem clicking away to find what they’re looking for elsewhere. Meanwhile, research and advisory firm Gartner estimates that the average cost of IT downtime is roughly $5,600 per minute, or more than $300,000 per hour; the costs can be even higher for large organizations or e-commerce websites that depend on a steady flow of traffic.
Given these issues, scalability and availability need to be essential concerns for any company that depends on its website to do business or offer services to its customers. By migrating your website hosting from on-premises to the cloud, you can improve your site’s reliability, performance, and uptime while leveraging the advantages of public cloud ecosystems.
Scalability and Availability for Websites in the Cloud
In cloud computing, “scalability” refers to the ability of an application or service to dynamically expand or contract its capacity as necessary (e.g., during times of peak usage). “Availability,” meanwhile, refers to the amount of time that an application or service is accessible.
Both scalability and availability can be dramatically increased when moving your website to cloud hosting:
- Scaling in the cloud is much easier than scaling inflexible on-premises servers. Websites hosted in the cloud can take advantage of horizontal scaling, distributing and balancing the increased load across multiple servers to prevent overloading any one of them. On the other hand, on-premises resources have fixed capacity, and it’s difficult to scale them without making an expensive capital purchase. In addition, the extra on-premises resources you purchase will go unused much of the time, and you may spend more than you need if you don’t correctly estimate the amounts of peak usage.
- Many cloud providers offer a guaranteed uptime percentage in their service level agreement (SLA). For example, the Microsoft Azure SLA guarantees 99.9 percent uptime (or more) for its various cloud services, which corresponds to downtime of roughly 9 hours over an entire year.
Hosting your website in the cloud also offers benefits in terms of disaster recovery and business continuity. The best public cloud providers offer automatic backups and data replication, letting you quickly restore operations in the event of data loss.
On the other hand, on-premises backups need to be handled manually, and hosting your website on-site puts you at risk of a natural disaster, such as a flood or fire.
Case Study: Major Utility Company
One of Datavail’s clients, a major Canadian utility company, was faced with several pain points when refreshing its outdated front-facing customer website. Just 8 percent of the client’s customers were paying their bills online, which was costing the client millions in mailing expenses.
Part of the problem: the client’s existing website suffered from a clunky user experience and archaic technology. In particular, the website needed to be more mobile-friendly and accessible for customers with disabilities. The client was also concerned about the website’s scalability and availability, especially during times of peak usage such as storms and widespread power outages.
Datavail worked with the client to refresh and modernize its outdated customer website, with a particular focus on cloud computing. Although the client faced data sovereignty issues that required it to maintain its customer data on-premises, Datavail helped the client design a hybrid cloud architecture and migrate the website infrastructure to Microsoft Azure.
The client now uses fast, modern cloud services such as Azure Data Factory for ETL data integration and Azure App Service for building and deploying web applications. Thanks to its partnership with Datavail, the client has slashed postal costs due to a fivefold increase in customers paying online via the new modernized and customer friendly website. In addition to the OpEx savings, the customer has also significantly improved its website’s JD Powers customer satisfaction rankings.
Want to make your website more robust, user-friendly, scalable, and available by migrating to the cloud? Datavail can assist you. Find out how we helped one client by reading our case study “Major Utility Company Improves Residential Customer Website Experience with Azure.”
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