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Optimised hosting environments

7th April 2015


DI-datacentre-blogDesign Inc is always looking to improve the hosting environment provided for customers. Since the start of 2015 we have implemented and deployed a new hosting infrastructure for all customers hosted on our infrastructure.

Our hosting environment has always been best of breed, providing high up time by using a virtualised clustered approach – driven by many servers and multiple points of redundancy. This ensures that in the event of a full server failure, all traffic is redistributed among our other servers resulting in zero downtime to our clients.

Why does speed matter?
Website speed is very important to both visitors and search engines alike.

Google said it best in this article.

‘Speeding up websites is important – not just to site owners, but to all Internet users. Faster sites create happy users and we’ve seen in our internal studies that when a site responds slowly, visitors spend less time there. But faster sites don’t just improve user experience; recent data shows that improving site speed also reduces operating costs. Like us, our users place a lot of value in speed – that’s why we’ve decided to take site speed into account in our search rankings. We use a variety of sources to determine the speed of a site relative to other sites.’

What we did
For this upgrade we went back to basics and analysed our infrastructures performance from the ground up. This review highlighted many areas of bottlenecks which if we could remove would drastically improve website performance without comprising our multi-server redundancy. The following areas where highlighted as bottlenecks and addressed;

Page compile time
Many sites we host are very complex and consist of hundreds (if not thousands) of files and includes. Compiling these pages real time for each visit is a drain. Many people would just put a content cache in front of their servers to reduce this load – But this has the side effect of serving potentially stale cached content. Instead we chose to cache the compiled pages in RAM reducing CPU cycles drastically while preserving the dynamic nature of our content.

Disk / Network IO
Dealing with sites which consist of so many files can lead to a large lag, each file needs to have a unix STAT command performed and over a networked environment this can cause a bottle neck. To tackle this we implemented an in RAM STAT cache, drastically reducing network disk file access.

Site optimisation
The old adage of ‘your servers are only as good as the software they run’ prompted us to review all sites we host. Applying performance enhancements and intelligent content caching to improve overall speed and reduce the load each site places on our infrastructure.

Hardware upgrades
In addition to these improvements, we also drastically improved our servers’ hardware specification. The highlights of which are:

Gigabit internet connectivity
Raid 10 Disk arrays
8 Core CPUs
16Gb of RAM per server.

The result?
The result of the above is real world measurable performance enhancements to all the sites we host. Some sites have seen 10x improvement in ‘Waiting (TTFB)’ delivery, resulting in lighting fast page rendering and delivery speeds.

All these improvements were aimed at not comprising on our promise of a high uptime clustered solution.

Design Inc now have a hosting platform ready to deliver for the future and it will be the envy of our competitors.

For more information on our optimised hosting environments please call 01784 410380 or email frank@designinc.co.uk

To view our website design portfolio please click here