February 15th, 2009 by Kyle West
We just put the finishing touches on v1.9.5 and wanted to let you know what exactly is different and why you should care (you should care!). We also skipped our blog post about 1.9.4 and wanted to give a quick update on a few things are were changed with the move to Rackspace.
The underlying theme of both releases though is: everything is MUCH MUCH faster!
There were two main changes in v1.9.4.
1. We upgraded to Windows Server 2008 x64, SQL Server 2008 x64 and ASP.NET MVC RC1. While infrastructure changes aren’t normally a good enough reason for a new release we’ve made a couple code changes to take advantage of some new features in each product to make RPMWare faster, more secure and more reliable. Not to mention our newer, bigger, beefier servers from Rackspace.
2. We created our own DNS manager to provide you simple access to your redundant name servers from your RPMWare admin.
The migration went off without a hitch and after about 45 minutes of downtime we were humming along on our new servers.
Speed - The average response time for your website homepage has decreased from a little over 1 second to just over 600 milliseconds, almost a 100% improvement. The results are even more impressive on more complex pages. We’ve seen some pages improve from 5+ seconds to just over 1 second.
Reliability - Since the move we’ve had exactly 1 minute and 44 seconds of downtime, before the move we were having that much or more downtime every day. We’re constantly striving to get that number to zero, but this is certainly a step in the right direction.
Visitors and Pageviews - We don’t keep stats on each of your sites individually, but we do keep stats on all the RPMWare sites as a whole. Comparing the week before the move to the week of the move your visitors are down 1.19%, but page views are up 2.79% and pages per visit are up 4.04%. Fewer visitors checking out more pages, a direct result of faster page loads? Most likely. But what’s the impact on the bottom line?
Conversions (orders) are up 16.50%! I’ve never been so excited. This is why we’re here, to help you make more money.
v1.9.5 packs a couple more items to boost performance and get your sales up. The first of which I, and any other geek, will be pretty excited about.
All your images are on Amazon CloudFront
CloudFront is a content delivery network (CDN) built and supported by Amazon.com. It’s similar to Amazon S3 (which we implemented around this time last year) with a very important advantage. Everything you look at on the internet needs to be loaded from a server somewhere. If those servers happen to be closer to you physically you’re content will load faster. A CDN maintains servers around the country (and the globe) and uses specialized algorithms to load content from the servers closest physically to your users.
The end result is another speed boost for your website as images are loaded from servers physically closer to you. If you do international business your international customers will certainly notice a speed boost. We haven’t had time to analyze the performance boost yet; however, CDNs are a proven way to substantially improve site performance.
New AAIA Vehicle Information Database
We updated the underlying data that powers our year, make, model search to the latest available from AAIA. The total vehicle count is now over 50,000 including all the new 2009 models.
Before we moved to Rackspace we simply didn’t have the resources to provide 100% complete sitemaps with all your categories, brands, groups and items. There is so much information included in your sitemap now we had to split it into multiple files to get all the information submitted to Google and the other search engines. Don’t worry about doing anything differently, things will just work after you submit your sitemap.
January 8th, 2009 by Matt Gold
As you guys know, we’ve run into a few SNAFUs with the Version 1.9 Launch. As sleep becomes a rare commodity over here, we remain committed to getting this swap installed, tuned and running.
We’ve addressed the hardware issues we ran up against and have now regrouped and started taking another look under the hood.
I’m running out of automotive metaphors, so please sit tight and we’ll let you know when we’re ready to fire this up again.
January 6th, 2009 by Matt Gold
We’re deeply sorry but we have to postpone the launch of v1.9 one night. As always, all your data is safe and secure. Nothing was lost in the scrubbed launch.
After migrating all your data and launching v1.9 we noticed unacceptable latency between our web and database servers. Normally traffic flows between them in milliseconds. Last night they were taking seconds. Multiply that by a couple thousand requests a second and you’ve got a big problem.
We immediately contacted our data center and their engineers are troubleshooting our environment. This issue is a hardware issue. We were able to solve the problem on one machine; however, we did not want to risk your business by neglecting redundancy.
Around 6AM EST we made the decision to roll-back the launch and restore the previous version of RPMWare.
We are confident the engineers will solve this problem tonight and we’ll launch tonight (1/7/09).
As always, we will keep you posted.
UPDATE 7:51AM EST: Our case has been sent over to the Network Operations team for further review. More to follow.
UPDATE 10:45AM EST: Engineers have determined the exact cause of the issue and allocated 5 (five!) times the resources we previously had to fix the issue. We’re now 100% confident we can launch tonight without issue. Please stay tuned for more information. Thank you for your patience.
January 6th, 2009 by Matt Gold
Ok guys, sit tight.
We’re pushing the newest version of RPMWare live as we speak (type?).
Sites will temporarily be down, but don’t fret – we will keep you posted as to our progress.
UPDATE 2:31AM EST: We’re still waiting on our new databases to empty. We haven’t taken anything offline yet, we’ll let you know right before we do. (KW)
UPDATE 3:01AM EST: Still waiting. Migration has not started yet. (KW)
UPDATE 3:29AM EST: Everything is ready to migrate, a little late, but no downtime yet. We’ll be taking the sites offline in the next five minutes. (KW)
UPDATE 3:33AM EST: Data migration started. (KW)
UPDATE 3:35AM EST: Logos, stylesheets and files to Amazon S3 started. (KW)
UPDATE 3:37AM EST: Data migration complete. (KW)
UPDATE 3:52AM EST: We’re about 1/2 way on your logos and stylesheets. (KW)
UPDATE 3:58AM EST: Logos done, stylesheets uploading. (KW)
UPDATE 4:14AM EST: Done! We’re restarting servers and testing all the sites. Your site should be back online now. (KW)
LAST UPDATE 4:19AM EST: We’re going to restart the servers. Back up in 2-3 minutes. (KW)