The scalability of content management systems is a topic not often initially evaluated in-depth, as it is very technical and therefore invisible – at least until the first service interruption. Especially in unexpected situations of popularity or crisis, when smooth communication with customers and employees is vital, the additional load of the system could potentially increase so much that it breaks down – comparable to a DDoS attack.
This might be a painful lesson to learn because scalability is more than just asking “how many visitors and assets can our CMS and our servers handle”? In fact, the load patterns of web applications are subject to great fluctuation. Therefore, it is not surprising that the scalability of CMSs is rarely questioned in detail, hardly tested and even less frequently measured. In many cases scalability remains an untested assumption.
With legacy, on-premise CMSs, the most important parameters of scalability are predefined and static: The CPU and I/O throughput capacity on the CMS servers, databases and load-balancers, combined with the complexity of the customizations, defines the time it takes to render a single page. Even rare changes of these parameters show the necessity of either modifying the scope of the contract or modernizing and expanding hardware, not to mention the involvement of IT specialists to adjust the software. This takes time.
Also, the capacity of this legacy environment has its limits. Every sudden peak in web traffic affects performance and availability. The traditional approach also needs a much longer reaction time for scaling. That explains why so many brands face service overload problems during moments of great success, or – even worse – emergency.
In addition to traffic growing unpredictably, so does the content volume. As a rule of thumb, content volume follows Moore’s Law and doubles every 18 months. If there is a requirement to archive the content history, then this increases even more. In addition, content is becoming increasingly personalized. This means that the CMS must be designed to handle a multiple of the initial content. Unfortunately, nobody initially knows exactly how much will be needed in practice. The only way to handle this unpredictability is to achieve linear scalability or even better.
Also, the ability to dynamically adapt commercial conditions in a pay-per-use model is one of the factors that scale the business plan. Why overpay for a service you do not use, or wait hours for the support department’s response to a sudden traffic peak?
Enterprise SaaS CMS Scrivito offers instant, almost infinite and automatic scaling in a pay-per-use model. Scrivito grows with your demands; no hard limit for content objects or editors, for example, exists.
And the enterprise pays only for the exact amount of content in use. In addition to true scalability, there is no money wasted on unused and therefore overpaid capacity.
All digital assets in Scrivito are automatically transferred through a built-in Content Delivery Network (CDN). Scrivito’s true cloud nature takes advantage of the AWS infrastructure. AWS has the largest global infrastructure footprint of any cloud provider to deliver Scrivito’s content through a worldwide network of Points of Presence (PoP) locations, which consists of Edge Locations and Regional Edge Cache servers. Amazon CloudFront is a fast content delivery network (CDN) service securely delivering data, videos, applications and APIs to users globally with low latency, high transfer speeds, within a developer-friendly environment.
AWS’s 69 Availability Zones (AZ) are spread over 22 regions⁵. The content is highly available and distributed to the 200+ edge locations worldwide, keeping a copy of the content geographically as close to the users as possible.
Managing content with the legacy approach, whether by means of open-source or commercial enterprise CMSs, is confined to pre-defined templates and limited structures in terms of multi-tenancy. Changes are slow and expensive to implement. Some popular web CMSs cannot even run more than one website efficiently.
Typically, this results in multiple CMS installations. At best, these are varying releases and versions only. At worst, there are many different CMS platforms. In reality it has been observed that some organizations use more than 10 different CMSs. Time-critical projects require quick results, so in addition to the organization’s official standard system, many small solution “islands” are established. Not using the central system as a shared service is often justified since many CMSs can only be extended with considerable effort and are soon perceived as functionally incomplete or difficult to use.
Enterprises today regularly get requests for new web applications, websites, landing pages, shops and other content consuming channels. The number of voice assistants, IoT, smart watches and other modern devices requiring support for specific formats is increasing. When this kind of business demand arises, the enterprise faces obstacles. Excessive time, money and IT resources are required to create new websites.
With Scrivito’s built-in multi-tenancy, these limitations are eliminated. The enterprise SaaS CMS Scrivito can handle an unlimited number of websites or web applications, within one tenant or across multiple tenants. Content assets can be shared within one tenant or more strictly separated. Whatever decision is made, the number of possible tenants is virtually infinite. Thanks to multi-tenancy, new projects can be created quickly and easily by pressing a single button.
For new requirements coming from business units, multi-tenancy provides the flexibility and speed to instantly start and run individual web projects. Even external agencies can be involved easily and securely. There is no waste of valuable resources setting up a new website, all technical obstacles are excluded. SaaS CMS Scrivito gives the enterprise full freedom without compromising control.
With the SaaS CMS Scrivito, the enterprise can expect a decline in isolated web solutions, a steep decline in the number of CMSs in use, a significant reduction in related costs, and measurable quality improvements through more consistency in a shared service.
This blogpost is an excerpt from the “Measurable Success” white paper. You can download it for free to learn about the 10 most relevant factors by which the success of a CMS can be measured.