ECommerce Data Visualization Disrupted: When You Can't See, You Can't Work
by Virtiant Team, on Apr 12, 2018 3:19:22 PM
Read Time: 2.5 minutes
In today's tech economy, data visualization is incredibly important.Look at any tech publication, and you'll see glowing reviews of visual dashboards for CRM, ERP, security, public research or any number of uses. These types of interfaces are simply becoming the standard by which we measure analytics tools. How well do they deliver visual results to the user?
The fundamental idea behind data visualization is based on the reality that humans do not process information in the same ways that computers do. A computer takes in pure data and “makes sense” of the data streams according to its programming. But humans are not made to look at large sets of numbers or extremely large data-sets of any kind. In the age of big data, there’s a need to distill the data findings for human end users, to create “digestible” results. Data visualization has become the key way to do that. Whether it’s a map graphic showing the concentration of data points, scatter plots or any other types of visualized data structure, data visualization helps us to understand what is set before us. That’s helpful in a lot of areas, but it’s especially useful in e-commerce, where so much of what happens would otherwise be a black box.
Visualization is Standard in E-Commerce
In e-commerce, visual data is essential for the purposes of generating revenue.Sales workers and others need to see at a glance what's happening within the business model, which is largely digital. You don’t have people walking the halls in stores -- you have people walking through the analytics software. As a result, they need visualization to see, as much as someone in a warehouse needs the lights to be on during the night. When data visualization fails, that results in company blindness. All of a sudden, the workers don't have the data in front of them. They can't see what's going on. Even if this downtime only lasts five or ten minutes, it throws the business model off. Drop orders can't get shipped. Nobody can see who's buying. Deals get lost in the shuffle … because e-commerce is 24/7 all the time.
Think of a situation where reservationists are using real-time data to serve customers, whether it’s for healthcare, the auto industry, retail or anything else. Maybe the average “deal” takes five or six minutes. As soon as the interface goes down, the clock starts ticking. How long before the first deals start to get scuttled?
Uptime to the Rescue
That's why uptime is the magic word in service level agreements for cloud-delivered vendor systems. Vendors promise their clients up and down that they will have 99% uptime -- but what about that other 1%? Customers aren’t just asking for 99.8% uptime to be picky -- they need it because they need to decrease the risk of liability. They need it because they can't afford to lose out on the revenue that happens in e-commerce systems within five or ten minutes. Reputation can be lost even faster. Ask yourself, how long will prospects and customers wait for your e-commerce system to come back online before they decide to talk with your competitor?
Are Vendors Promises Enough?
When a data visualization system fails, you need to ‘rehydrate’ the data as quickly as possible. Vendors talk about how recovery time operation ends define how quickly they can get reconstituted data through whatever delivery channel they use.
Vendors and others talk about a Recovery Time Objective (RTO) which is defined technically by CIO Review - “RTO is calculated in terms of specific time slots which may include the time needed for the recovery, testing and explaining the issue to the users”. This definition is extremely instructive because that’s exactly what skittish executives are measuring to make sure they don’t come up short. Again, they’re defining mission-critical objectives and understanding how those get done – or, in the case of excessive downtime, don’t get done. You can’t leave the front-line crew out there with the lights off, and that’s what RTO is supposed to address.
Here’s the problem, though. In the end, the RTO the vendor promises may not be the actual RTO at all. Or, maybe the vendor is going off of imperfect estimates. A stated RTO doesn’t mean that’s the maximum time frame, especially with any bottlenecks that may occur. So it pays to think about contingencies where outages may happen for longer than they were projected to. That can be easier said than done, though, because of shared infrastructure. Think about the average data center. It’s like an octopus, a central virtualized infrastructure with a myriad of connections to hypervisors, virtual machine silos, mission-specific apps, and out to the global Internet. As an ecosystem, it potentially can be prone to multiple points of failures.
If this sounds chaotic and scary, the way to get peace of mind is through a standalone disaster recovery and backup solution that offers true reliability and performance.
Virtiant’s Disaster Recovery Solution operates on that basis -- by scrambling the resources needed at the time of failure, it provides effective recovery for hypervisor-based replication, a scalable hyper-converged base layer, and support for 24.7.365 access to the applications and data businesses needed to do business every single minute. Virtiant’s Disaster Recovery architecture is always there, and always ready to get on the move -- Virtiant promises resilience in five minutes so that you can actually identify the maximum downtime you’ll have.
Run your primary infrastructure during an IT disruption and eliminate the need to calculate a time to test and explain to users what happened. If five minutes doesn't sound that much different than ten minutes, take a look at what happens to nearly any e-commerce business model at six minutes or seven minutes without front line or customer access to data and applications. Then call Virtiant and ask about how our solutions can guarantee near zero RTO. Go with a trusted resource that’s built specifically with IT resilience and user experience in mind, and see how easily you can keep your primary infrastructure running through any IT disruption.