Deploying any mission critical system is an extremely non-trivial task. Dollars and cents are at stake. Almost any deployment of Microsoft Commerce Server 2007 or 2009 (hereafter CS2009) can fit this bill. Inherently, e-commerce is about collecting money. If a system is not available, money cannot be collected. That is the direct cost of downtime. Indeed, during peak holiday shopping season hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars can be lost for every hour of partial or complete downtime during the middle of peak shopping hours. Then, there is the indirect cost – that of professional reputation. If someone has a bad or unavailable experience with an e-commerce site – business is lost to the competition. Sometimes it is a permanent loss. This loss can spread like wildfire – amongst friends and colleagues, online communities, and even into the public media. During the United States Thanksgiving holidays of 2005 and 2006 – Black Friday resulted in several key e-commerce sites suffering outages that resulted in top headlines in national media. The reputation cost is difficult to directly quantify – but it is often times far greater than the direct cost of downtime itself. Hence, downtime or poor performance of any kind is something best avoided.

This series of blog posts shall attempt to outline the thoughts and considerations that must go into deploying CS2009 – such that downtime is avoided and system performance is always within acceptable levels. Topics covered include selecting the right version of Commerce Server and other underlying Microsoft technologies, the configuration of deployment environments for a variety of common scenarios, Commerce Server-specific tradeoffs and consequences, advanced tips and tricks, and impacts upon operational processes from looking at deployments from an end-to-end perspective. What is not covered is the actual step-by-step building out of individual hardware software configurations – as the potential permutations are many and the documentation of individual products themselves are likely a more appropriate source of reference.

Hope this helps – and that you enjoy reading them as they come…