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Planning for high volume Web sites
By Daniel H. Steinberg - 2004-01-16 Page:  1 2 3 4

Advice from our experts

Creating an effective Web site that provides real business value requires a lot of planning. Potential customers can't take advantage of the content you so carefully create if you don't spend time and effort considering the technical requirements of the site. This article summarizes advice on performance, scalability, and availability from IBM's High Volume Web Sites Team.

The days of putting up a flaming logo for your Web site are long gone. You spend a lot of time figuring out what content you need to provide, and hire designers to make it attractive and usable. Long before you go live you also need to plan for scalability, capacity, performance, and availability. In her developerWorks Live! session "High Volume Web Sites: Trends, Challenges, and Customer Experiences," Linda Legregni talked about planning a successful site to support your content. Legregni, the Program Director for IBM's High Volume Web Sites Team, mixed real-world examples with expert advice.

The infrastructure

According to Zona Research Studies, the average Web buyer will wait eight seconds for a page to download. Legregni cautioned that workers with high-speed Internet connections won't wait that long. A slow site is, for all intents and purposes, an unavailable site. After citing statistics about the growth of the J2EE market and studies of widespread adoption of Web services, Legregni presented the five-stage life cycle of a Web site:

  1. Planning
  2. Architecture
  3. Design, build, and test
  4. Deployment
  5. Service delivery

To target continuous availability, you begin by knowing your workload. Legregni cited the well-known case of a company that planned an live online lingerie modeling event without the infrastructure to support the heavy traffic that such an event would draw. Once you have identified the ways your site will be used, you can design the pages for performance. You need to also anticipate and plan for growth and scalability, including developing a plan for managing end-to-end performance.

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First published by IBM developerWorks

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