www.blume2000.de

Solution Case Performance

Growth driver for Blume2000.de: Performance enhancement for peak loads

www.blume2000.de

Blume2000.de is Germany's leading direct dispatch service for flowers. Peak times such as Valentine's Day and Mother's day can increase the company's online business traffic tenfold. Blume2000.de has redesigned its hardware and software architecture to better cope with these peaks in demand. The Blume2000.de online shop is now based on the OXID eShop Enterprise Edition. The flower retailer has successfully completed online sales with OXID eSales software since 2011.

Blume2000.de has around 200 branches across Germany and is the country's market leader in the flower and plant retail segment. The company was founded in Hamburg in 1974; its depot business was established in 1999 and the Blume2000.de online shop began business operations. After just four years Blume2000.de became Germany's market leader for direct flower sales via the Internet. The number of page views and orders placed multiplied consistently from year to year - in conjunction with a growing range that changed according to the season. The complexity of the business and the website's growing popularity placed an ever-increasing strain on the performance of the overall system.

 

Handling seasonal peaks with ease

Scalability and performance

Scalability and performance were therefore the most important success drivers for Blume2000.de - but they were also the most significant risk factors for the future, recalls Mirco Freiberg, IT Manager at Blume2000.de. The company also had another performance demand to cope with: online orders increased tenfold just before seasonal highlights such as Valentine's Day or Mother's Day. The challenge was to keep the system stable and the shop's performance consistently high during these extreme peaks. The objective therefore was to improve the shop's overall performance and to create a scalable solution for the future - with little effort and appropriate infrastructure costs.

"Our discerning business model demands a high-performance, scalable shop system in conjunction with a high degree of dynamic content and fixed cost structures. The OXID eShop is a major component of our overall IT system and as such contributes to our business success."

Philipp Spethmann, Vorstand Blume2000 new media Ag

www.lodenfrey.com

Minimum database load - maximum performance

Intelligent caching

In 2011, the entire architecture of the online shop was redesigned to meet these demands and then significantly optimized once again in 2013. Ten web servers were installed to handle peak demands; four web servers are sufficient to handle normal operations. A MySQL 5.5 database was installed on each web server to balance database requests as efficiently as possible. The company also installed a Varnish instance to handle caching. When a page is called up for the first time the output is transferred to the Varnish cache and then retrieved from there when it is called up again; this means the request never gets as far as the application server and the load on the database is reduced to a minimum. The performance of the online shop is boosted further still by transferring static content via a dedicated server.

Session handling is managed by a Memcached instance, whilst a second instance takes care of OXID caching. This significantly speeds up the shopping basket and checkout processes. Load balancing ensures the load on servers is evenly distributed; it improves the performance of each server and maximizes data availability; the result is shorter response times for page content and business processes alike. Installing the entire system on a staging environment in good time made it possible to optimize the complex system landscape for handling predefined loads continuously during the development phase.

Leading flower delivery service banks on OXID eShop Enterprise Edition

Software code as the heart

OXID eShop Enterprise Edition

The flower dispatcher also made changes to the software and replaced the former online shop system. After all, the software code still has a significant impact on the shop's performance, regardless of hardware extensions. As the amount of code increases, so does the number of database requests and the shop becomes slower as a result. This was well-known to OXID Solution Partner Marcel Kreuter of TWT Interactive GmbH: "It is important to use software that is extendible, flexible and modular to be well-equipped for future demands." Full-Service agency TWT Interactive GmbH took on both the project management and the complete implementation of the new online shop for Blume2000.de. The e-commerce software of choice is the OXID eShop Enterprise Edition, the high-performance solution from the house of OXID eSales. Its simple configuration made it possible to install the overall system in good time.

Initial response times less than one second

The result

The new Blume2000.de online shop went live in 2011 and is well-equipped for handling future peak loads. "The average initial response time for page content is now less than one second. The customer has the feeling he can use the page immediately", explains IT manager Freiberg. The availability of the Blume2000.de online shop is very high, making it one of the best-performing shops on the market.

Blooming retail sales

Facts at a glance

  • Immediate handling of seasonal peak loads
  • Extremely short loading times for shop content
  • Improved Google ranking thanks to fast response times
  • Scalable shop for growing online business
  • High-performance solution within the specified budget
  • Easy inclusion of dynamic content
  • Quickly extendible to incorporate additional services