Redundancy – The Backbone of eCommerce?

Redundancy isn’t a positive word, but in digital business it can be the difference between success and failure.

It’s a term used across the high tech sector, especially in ‘software as a service’ or SaaS, where the service is based in ‘the cloud’. SaaS is a growing sector because it’s a rapid means of improving site operation and data analysis, and it enables smaller brands to compete.

It usually involves a simple, subscription-based pricing model that covers everything required to operate a service, but what it offers customers is far from uncomplicated.

Software as a service means a lower and consistent level of operational expenditure for the client, without any investment needed for on-site hardware and software licenses. It’s not just about fast deployment and low costs, but ongoing flexibility too. That means allowing clients to scale up or down as needs change, enabling them to respond rapidly to changes in the market.

SaaS only works, of course, when it can assure its client of high availability and scalability. That’s where redundancy comes in: as a multi-level redundant infrastructure it means that we can ensure availability and scalability. What redundancy means here is a method of ensuring no downtime, of ensuring the service works no matter what disaster strikes.

That can be something as simple as a fuse blowing out a power source, hardware or software failures, a traffic spike on the back of a promotion. These days it could even be earthquakes, hurricanes, fire or floods. When any of these things happen, redundancy becomes a competitive advantage.  

Each of these mirrors the other so that any of them can keep the service going if there’s a problem with the others. This redundancy allows the SaaS company to keep sites running when there’s a problem. If the site or service goes down, it means lost revenue and worse, it might mean the loss of a customer.  

Redundancy means that client search functionality will operate without a hitch, regardless of where in the system, or why, a failure might occur. It is during moments like these, when uninterrupted service can be delivered to customers with no hesitation, that you start to realise it really is the backbone of eCommerce.

By Marcus Law

Marcus Law is Uk Marketing Manager for SLI Systems, who provide full-service site search, navigation, merchandising, and user-generated SEO.

Photo (cc) Glen Bowman