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A High Traffic E-Commerce Showcase Portal for a Mega Sale Event

Neev provided an unconventional solution for Google India by creating a unique Zero server architecture that is capable of handling high traffic and is responsive and also loads fast at the same time.

The Client

GOSF was a unique event launched by Google India. A mega online sale event, the first of its kind in India, held on 12 Dec 2012 or 12.12.12, with a traffic expectation of over 15 million in a single day.

Business Need

Google India was looking at launching an exclusive 24 hours online shopping festival wherein over 90 eCommerce ventures would offer various deals to its consumers. With a traffic expectation of over 15 million in a single day, the website was required to handle unprecedented loads without any downtime.

Neev Solution

Neev’s technology team created a unique Zero Server architecture, the underlying concept being that if there are no servers, there is no question of them failing. The thought of by-passing the database and the Web servers was a radical move. The entire site was replicated across CDN servers, which meant that in the event of a server crash or the AZ going down, the site would continue to be live.
All the processing was moved from the server side to the browsers. Basically each browser became a server in itself. This not only enabled the sites to be responsive but also fast-loading, irrespective of the number of concurrent users on the site.
Deployment was not an afterthought of development. Architectural inputs were thought from the design stage to make sure user experience and technology worked hand-in-hand.
The application was built in a way that on visiting the site for the first time, data was cached on the user’s browser and the rest of the site would run in an ‘offline’ mode, making the architecture fully scalable. This way it did not have a dependency on the webserver for processing each incoming request. Invalidations and cache clears were built-in so that every time the data on the server changes, the application would automatically download the last updated files.
Since most of the application was executed from the client browsers, the page load times were nearly instantaneous. The first time loads were less than 4 secs and the subsequent loads lesser.
High performance was also ensured by aiming for a Grade A on YSlow from the outset.
The Zero Server Architecture led to significant savings in hosting charges. Cost effective CDN from Amazon ensures that the cloud bills were low. It did away with the need of a database server and a web server, there by significantly reducing the support cost and maintenance costs for monitoring the servers and backing up the data.

Technology footprint

  • HTML5, CSS and Javascript
  • Data storage in JSON format
  • AWS Services used: EC2, S3, Cloud Front

Top features

  • Instantaneous page loads
  • Data cached to user’s browser and the site could run in ‘offline’ mode
  • All the files and data related to the portal were replicated across multiple zones in the CDN and there was no single point of failure

Top Challenges

  • A Hard Timeline: 12.12.12 was a unique date with a similar next date occurring only after 99 years. So the project could not have elastic timelines and a firm adherence to the pre-defined delivery schedule was necessary.
  • Very High Traffic: With a traffic expectation of over 15 million in a single day, the website was designed to handle unprecedented loads.
  • Downtime can be expensive: With more than 100 online stores showcasing products and giving discounts, sales happened all day.
  • Even one second of downtime was a direct loss of business.

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