IT Consulting

IT Consulting advises how to build solutions that fulfill the business strategy. It is a how-to guide for technology. The deliverables are: E-Commerce Website Migration

Sub-Second Response Time

A fast website enhances the user experience. It becomes accessible to slower client technologies at geographically remote locations. The Google Page Insights tool identifies some of the items outlined in this section.

Number of URLs per Page

The number of URLs on a web page is a count of separate downloadable packages. The fewer there are, the faster the page loads.

The following chart shows the number of CSS files per page across 100,000 websites. Fast sites have zero as per Google guidelines. Besides reducing the number of downloads, it allows the browser to start rendering the page immediately. Content Management Systems (CMS) frequently deemphasize speed resulting in many CSS files, as shown in the following chart.CSS Files per Page

Payload Efficiency

An efficient payload minimizes the bytes downloaded to get the desired effect. However, technical complexity leads to inadvertent bloating. The following chart shows the ratio of visible text over the file size. It outlines that 13% of websites allocate 1% or less of the payload to the printed word. The 4 to 15% range tends to be optimal because of the inherent overheads built into the HTML and HTTP standards.HTML Text to Payload There are many ways to increase payload efficiency. The most effective are:

Multi-Regional Deployments

A multi-regional deployment places stand-alone web servers in several geographic regions. These servers contain the entire website and respond to user requests from the closest server. It is significantly faster and more robust than a Content Delivery Network (CDN) in front of a single backing website.

Websites Designed for Performance

A fast website design considers page response time when making each design decision. Tacking performance on as an afterthought does not work very well. The following techniques speed up response times.Fast Server

Highly Available Design

The cloud significantly reduced the investment needed for a high availability design that prevents outages from happening in the first place. The following sections outline a few methods to increase uptime.

Software Currency

Many issues get fixed by applying current patches. However, most webservers are out of date. For example, WordPress powers over half of the websites but only they only patch the current version. The following chart shows that 81% of websites were out of support.Software Currency The advantages of software currency include:

Testing Environments

Websites significantly mitigate risks by testing and fixing issues before deploying into production. Classes of testing include: Testing Environments

Network Redundancy

BGP is the internet protocol supporting concurrent network connections. A robust data center has many BGP connections to improve speed and reliability. However, a significant number of data centers have a single connection while others have over 30.

Blue / Green Deployment

A Blue/Green deployment tests production candidate deployments before sending them production load. If the candidate fails after rolling forward, it can roll back to the older system. The old environment remains in place until the new one proves stable, say after a week. The approach maximizes uptime with the most problematic IT task.Web Server Deployment

Cyberattack

Cyberattacks continue to escalate in sophistication and frequency for many reasons. A solid security design:

Hard Disk Redundancy

Hard disk redundancy supports continuous uptime even when one disk fails. Unlike other types of hardware redundancy, disk redundancy is more cost-effective. It is relevant because disks are a frequent failure mode that results in data loss.

Server Redundancy

Cloud solutions changed the design patterns for server redundancy. The client does not have pre-purchase redundant capacity. Instead, they deploy new servers on-demand when the old one fails. They rely on the cloud provider having excess capacity.

Disaster Recovery

Disaster recovery is the ability to recover from unexpected events. It's a matter of time before a solution crashes. Planning for that event mitigates the impact on the business.

Disaster Recovery Requirements

IT disasters are a fact of using technology. They have well-known failure mechanisms making it straightforward to plan and test for recovery. A good set of recovery modes include: Disaster Recovery

Business Continuity

Business continuity includes disaster recovery and the surrounding business processes. IT supports continuity planning by:

Recovery Point Objective (RPO)

The RPO is the maximal possible time between the last backup and the point of failure. It represents the maximal time window for data loss. The business needs to know what the RPO means and have a plan to manage the impact. Database roll-forward recovery is a technology designed to drive RPO to zero. However, the implementation can get complex. Failure to manage RPO can have significant business impacts.

Failure Detection Time

The failure detection time is between a failure event and the start of recovery. A well-designed monitoring solution detects many types of failure and shrinks the detection window.

Recovery Time Objective (RTO)

The recovery time objective (RTO) is the time from deciding to recover systems to completion. Modern cloud designs can recover the most straightforward data centers and applications in 15 minutes. Recovery should include all the standard failure modes, including hardware, internet, and cyberattack.

Website Migration

Content Migration

Content migration replicates the text and images of a website to a new hosting platform. Most migrations are a solution to underlying technical issues. So they should NOT replicate the underlying technical problems. The content migration should clear up the deployment, including: Recovery Time Objective

Transition Planning

The transition plan preserves the links from the internet to the website. There is probably no point in planning without organic traffic, but bad planning can cause catastrophic traffic loss.

The transition should include optimization of the URL on the website. Those can include:

3rd Party Testing Tools

There are many 3rd party testing tools to validate how the website works. They include: