Beyond Sitecore’s limits
Navigating uncharted territory
Raymond James is a leading provider of wealth management and institutional financial services, with over 5,000 financial advisers throughout North America. Raymond James’ digital needs are complex and require a sophisticated digital marketing platform. With over 5,000 unique sites on various platforms, Raymond James set out to consolidate all sites onto a single CMS platform.
After provisionally selecting Sitecore as their technology of choice, Raymond James turned to Horizontal Integration (HI) with a challenge: provide a Proof of Technology that Sitecore could support the robust performance for thousands of sites and meet strict performance metrics.
At the forefront of concern is performance. With thousands of sites running on the same platform, Raymond James requires a complex architecture that can handle the load and not falter. The client’s plan to move forward with re-platforming thousands of sites was dependent on proving that Sitecore could scale to meet their needs.
While there are documented cases of large numbers of websites on a single instance of Sitecore, Raymond James’ requirement of 5,000 sites is way beyond any documented case.
HI started with its proprietary sizing exercise, which takes into account the client’s site scaling, traffic patterns, redundancy requirements and disaster recovery needs. HI reviewed the results with Raymond James and proposed the architecture.
To test the load, HI scripted over 3.4 million pieces of content, images, pages and data into the QA environment to represent the 5,000 sites. The infrastructure was then load-tested to determine whether the system could handle the sheer number of items inputted. Further, the test would determine if the delivery servers could handle the target requests per second while remaining within reasonable performance thresholds for sustained periods of time.
The test proved that the custom-built infrastructure was solid, stable and more than able to smoothly handle the load. In fact, the solution exceeded expectations: the first test of 350 requests per second resulted in 95% of the requests having a response time of less than one second, well below the established target of less than 2 seconds. Even after throttling the load up to over 600 requests per second, the response times remained less than 2 seconds for 95% of the requests. In addition, the error rate consistently remained at zero.
Having exceeded the established performance standards, the client elected to move forward with the Sitecore-based solution and selected HI to lead completion of the solution design and implementation program.