Community Blog In Search of the Quick Win: Easy Steps to Enhance Services for Your Customers

In Search of the Quick Win: Easy Steps to Enhance Services for Your Customers

In this blog, we discuss how infrastructure speed ups, monitoring and database functionality can quickly improve user experience.

Being agile is good for business. It means that you have the ability to move fast in order to identify trends and opportunities, and to develop new products and services. This is true for IT, too, where customers and end users generally want you to be agile and to release new features and fixes quickly.

But being agile is rarely easy. Best practice often requires considerable amounts of planning, research, development and testing. While it's sometimes tempting to rush these things in order to give our users what they're demanding, or to be first to market, experience generally teaches us that large IT projects generally shouldn't be hurried.

However, one way that can definitely keep users happy is to look for a "quick win". That is, a service enhancement or improvement which will make users' lives easier and can be achieved relatively quickly without the need for extensive development or testing.

Server Management

For example, do you have a WordPress or e-commerce site that is starting to run more slowly than it used to? As sites become popular, the number of users and the amount of content can cause the server to slow down. Users notice such things, so it's always important that your site loads its pages as quickly as possible. If users have to wait too long for results they'll go elsewhere, which is clearly not what you want.

There are a couple of great "quick win" actions that you can take to speed up a web or e-commerce site, especially when it's hosted on Alibaba Cloud. Firstly, use Cloud Monitor, available from your management console, to monitor your server's performance over a period of time. The basic Cloud Monitor service is free and will tell you whether your server is low on resources such as disk space. It will also tell you whether the server is regularly running at a high level of memory or CPU usage. If it is, this is likely the reason for the slowdown, and you can solve the problem by upgrading the server to a higher specification with more processors and memory. This can all be done from the management console with minimal downtime.

Improving Database Functionality

Almost all modern web and e-commerce sites use a database such as MySQL behind the scenes to store page content and product details. When sites are first created, it's common to run the web server (commonly apache on Linux and IIS under Windows) and the database engine on the same server. This can lead to bottlenecks because a single cloud server is having to perform both key functions. Moving the database functionality onto its own cloud server is easy to do, and is a definite "quick win" that will often provide an instant speed-up. Create a second cloud server and install your required database engine. Copy the existing databases, tables and user accounts from the current server to the new one. Then just change the configuration file on your web or e-commerce software to use the new database server rather than the old one.

Alternatively, you can move your database functionality off the web server without having to create a second server at all. An Alibaba Cloud ApsaraDB RDS instance lets you create databases and tables that are fully compatible with leading systems such as MySQL and SQL Server, on a fast fully-SSD-based infrastructure that is fully managed by Alibaba Cloud. As before, just point your web server or e-commerce system at your ApsaraDB RDS instance via its configuration settings.

To learn more about how creating an efficient IT infrastructure for your business, download and read Managing Your Virtual IT Infrastructure on the Cloud.

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