Client Objective

The client was looking to expand its existing catalog and mail order business to the Internet, as well as enhance the commerce offering with community services. They needed a robust, reliable, scalable, and affordable infrastructure on which to deploy their new commerce and community offering.

Our Approach

  • We conducted an evaluation of existing third-party application environments in the context of the client's needs.
  • We also considered the feature set we could create from scratch in the allotted time frame of about six months, as well as the cost associated with building our own.

Our Solution

  • After reviewing the results of the evaluation, it became clear that we could deliver the features needed, including database connection pooling, session management, caching and automatic fail over, at a lower overall cost by writing our own application server. In fact, after taking into account per-CPU licensing fees that third-party application server vendors were charging, our solution was a fraction of the price.
  • We started with selected, proven third-party technologies, including an Oracle database as the primary data store and a cluster of Apache web servers.
  • We then designed a distributed, reliable, high performance infrastructure capable of handling current needs and scaling several times to accommodate future expansion.
  • The implementation consisted of a custom application server, companion Apache module, and a set of libraries providing an API that the application developers could use to interact with the system.
  • Years later, our solution continued to serve about a million pages per day with minimal hardware.

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