Cdiscount: Website has accelerated performance with Citrix NetScaler

At 8 am, at the opening of summer sales and winter, cdiscount.com is literally stormed. Traffic suddenly increased 5 fold. Very dense during the first minutes, attendance remains strong in the first days and then resumes its stride ... until the next event. But all this time, site performance should remain stable, that is to say high to meet the demands of Internet users. This absolute obligation led Cdiscount, the French leader in e-commerce, to be equipped with the Citrix NetScaler appliance to optimize the availability of Web applications.

Attendance peaks challenge

With an average of 800,000 visitors per day and over 100,000 references online, Cdiscount has become the meeting place for the latest products. Established in late 1998, Cdiscount, now a subsidiary of the Casino Group, has built its success on an aggressive price positioning, a diverse choice and an optimal quality of service. The ease of access to the site, the nerve center of its activity, is a natural part of this winning strategy.

"The cdiscount.com site is very dynamic. Beyond specific periods such as balances or Sundays before Christmas purposes, business operations succeed online. So we have to anticipate changes in traffic,” says one to the DSI at Cdiscount. It is also a site whose graphic design, is rich in visual, changes at least once a month, and whose arrangement of the contents of the main pages can be changed several times in the same day.

The Load-Balancing, a key device

To succeed in the Internet world and make a lasting difference, Cdiscount has adopted since its creation a strong culture of real-time and high demand: the response time must be excellent and continuously update. The IT infrastructure is highly solicited.
The growing success of the site has led Cdiscount to be equipped with a technical solution for the provision of powerful web applications. It distributes the work between web servers to ensure resource availability and continuity of services in case of failure of a server. But it can do more. Cdiscount says: "So far, our load balancer was limited to these functions. We wanted a more efficient solution, equipped with advanced features to meet specific needs such as parallel testing the old and the new version of the site."

Citrix NetScaler, intelligent response to the demanding needs

The choice fell on the Citrix NetScaler product in concluding a very demanding tender. Arrivals solutions "short list" have been tested in a production environment to validate their performance and features. Citrix NetScaler arrived well ahead.

Among the main criteria used by Cdiscount include:

  • The capacity to handle 50,000 to 100,000 requests per second by 3-5 years regardless of the features enabled on the load balancer.
  • The ability to apply multiple treatments and rules for distributions to incoming requests. Caching techniques optimized to "stick" to the dynamics of the site and manage a large number of objects simultaneously.
  • The SSL acceleration to free up resources for client requests.
  • The operating facility while frequent site changes often make it necessary to intervene on the load balancer (enable / disable components: physical or virtual server, server group, .)

Installed in front of server farms spread across two data centers, Citrix NetScaler also offers the flexibility and granularity needed to, for example, directing such request to such application based on the user. "Some advanced features of the site are supported by Netscaler," it is added at Cdiscount.

The start of the winter sales start in January 2012. Traffic was distributed optimally and securely between Web servers, no congestion or saturation was observed. Namely: Citrix NetScaler consistently implements multiple optimization mechanisms that accelerate the availability of applications regardless of site traffic. This is also true for internal applications that increasingly call web services and therefore Citrix NetScaler. The company's business is thereby improved overall and will be even more when the load balancer Citrix will integrate in its functional scope of SQL database servers. Which will be soon.

In the meantime, the results of Cdiscount are directly proportional to the site's performance and steady progress.

About Citrix

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