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How to prepare for Peak
The aim of this blog series is to be your one stop shop for peak performance preparation and troubleshooting.
With peak season around the corner its important that you have tested and tuned your site to make sure you are in the best possible position to handle the increased site load and to reduce any downtime. With the ever expanding
e-commerce market it becomes more important to review and revise your sites performance from previous years and continue to make changes towards a stronger environment. Your site may have performed well last peak season and throughout the year but testing is important to ensure your site is configured to handle the increased load.
In the following blog I will highlight some of the areas that should be focused on to help you prepare for peak
Apply latest fixes
This one is pretty obvious but in the run up to peak it is important to apply and test the recommended fixes to optimize your environment. As with all production changes, the application of a fix pack or interim fix should be subject to rigorous functional and performance verification with your custom code to ensure there are no issues. You can go here for information on the latest V7 & V8 fixes to determine how your site might benefit from an upgrade.
Setup monitoring and diagnostic tools
Last year WebSphere Commerce released a set of tools to help you identify performance issues and configuration problems to help speed up the resolution time of performance issues. The tools cover the components typically found in a WebSphere Commerce site: IHS, WebSphere Application Server and DB2 databases. Using these tools you will have the ability to debug possible performance issues faster and spot areas that could benefit from additional investigation or tuning.
The tools are available for use here: http://wcsupport.mybluemix.net/
When you visit the URL you will see the following tools are available.
Have your environment Ready
Should you face an OOM or High CPU issue during peak you should have your environment ready to gather the data in advance instead of waiting for the issue to re-occur.
To do this you should configure your environment following these mustgathers;
Holiday Readiness Program
If you haven't already heard, IBM's Holiday Readiness program is a communication partnership between IBM and our clients that puts proactive measures in place in preparation for the peak holiday season. Our goal is to proactively ensure our clients have a successful peak period, by providing stable IBM solutions and reacting quickly to any critical situation.
The goal for the holiday season is to:
When preparing for peak it is highly recommend that you test the critical functionality of your environment. This testing should be completed every year in the run up to Peak as several changes are likely to have taken place throughout the year that might have affected the functionality or performance of your site. These problems might not be apparent unless the site is placed under increased load. For this reason, it is important to perform additional function and performance testing to ensure the features on your site continue to work properly and perform under the expected increased traffic.
For assistance with performance testing efforts, you might want to consult the IBM Services group to obtain expert assistance.
Check your Performance and Stability Configurations
Last year we created this technote to help you review and validate your current settings to ensure proper configuration. IBM Support can not provide specific tuning recommendations for your site. The configuration parameters and values documented within the technote are intended to be used as starting values when tuning and validating your WebSphere Commerce environment configuration.
Perform regular backups
All year round you should be taking regular backups of your site. Alongside your backups you should plan ahead and explore the options of rolling back to a backup of your site if you face a critical situations. Having a system backup not only helps with minimizing risk and disaster recovery, but it will also help with root cause analysis should problems occur.
Having a good database maintenance strategy is essential to the health of your site. Since each WebSphere Commerce site will behave differently, each maintenance strategy needs to be different. In order to prevent performance issues, you should implement a data maintenance strategy to remove obsolete data, periodically reorganize database tables, and maintain current database table statistics.
For information on the maintenance options see the following;
For more details, see the following WebSphere Support Technical Exchange presentation on best practices for maintaining your WebSphere Commerce DB2 database
For Oracle database maintenance, go to the documentation section of the Oracle Technology Network Web site and search for documentation by the release and version of your Oracle database.
JVM Performance Tuning
To help improve performance during peak it is worthwhile to review your JVM settings as they require careful tuning. Tuning these properly will help to avoid memory allocation errors which can lead to periodic failure or JVM restarts. You can follow this link on JVM performance tuning as a starting point.
For a more detailed look on preparing for peak refer to the following;
In the next blog I will talk about the most common performance issues we see during Peak season.