With agility being key to keeping up with customer expectations and evolving technology, many retailers are embarking on a journey to a modern API-driven architecture – otherwise known as “headless.” In this new world, the decoupled front-end no longer lives within the commerce or content system’s hosting environment, which means you need to build and automate your own.
This blog post will walk you through what to consider with respect to building, automating, maintaining and scaling your own hosting environment. It’ll also offer an alternative path for those who prefer to focus their in-house resources on other areas of the business.
Building & Automating Your Hosting Environment
The build and automation will require a strong DevOps team and culture to:
- Stand up your own public cloud environments (AWS using EC2 instances, Elastic Load Balancers and Cloudfront for example), learn the technologies (Docker containerization for example) involved in this, and learn how to automate deployments to achieve a DevOps culture
- Set-up environments and automation across regions and availability zones for multi-region brands
- Set-up additional environments and automation for non-production to maintain parity with production
Mobify’s Front-end as a Service offers an alternative option for those who would rather focus their internal resources on brand development. Mobify’s front-end is supported by an Application Delivery Network, a scalable, enterprise-grade cloud solution to deploy, host, and manage all high-performing front-end experiences. It allows you to leverage a globally available hosting environment and create any number of production grade environments with a single click of a button – available within minutes. You can also deploy in minutes, thanks to automation and DevOps best practices that are built right into the product.
Maintaining Your Hosting Environment
Ongoing maintenance is often underestimated in the upfront scoping process, but it can be the biggest resource draw. It requires:
- 24/7 monitoring and uptime requirements (99.99%+) – typically you will need your own Site Reliability Engineering team and staff on call when things go wrong
- Keeping up to date on the latest security patches and vulnerabilities across the entire stack, including the Application Server and underlying Operating System
- Processes and monitoring in place to maintain PCI compliance
If you decide to forego building your own hosting environment, you can offload the stress of maintaining a custom environment and the need for a dedicated team with Mobify’s Application Delivery Network that’s always kept up to date. Mobify has built up the expertise to monitor and address any degradation of service across all our big customers.
Auto-scaling for Peak Traffic & Performance
An important consideration with your own hosting environment is peak traffic during Black Friday, holiday seasons, large promotional campaigns, or unexpected surprises. You must be able to:
- Predict traffic spikes and plan to add more cloud instances or servers to accommodate additional traffic for a short duration
- Build extra capacity into your existing deployments, most of which would be under-utilized and therefore a waste of resources 80% of the time
The effort needed to optimize performance is complicated given advances in technologies like Service Workers, HTTP/2, compression techniques and the complexities of caching best practices, cache invalidation and code splitting. If all these factors aren’t addressed correctly, you risk giving your customers a sub-par experience. Mobify’s Application Delivery Network has all this baked in and responds to traffic spikes instantly using auto-scaling serverless technologies.
Focus on What Makes Your Brand Unique
A strong hosting environment is the baseline for a great digital experience, and there aren’t different needs from one organization to the next. Rather than focusing resources and effort on this baseline need, offload the stress to Mobify’s Application Delivery Network and enable your team to focus on building what makes your brand unique.
Get in touch to learn more about offloading the stress of building and automating your hosting environment.