Alibris, the premier online marketplace of rare and collectible books improved customer satisfaction, conversion, and retention by speeding search response time by 6x with Fusion ioMemory PCIe solutions.
Alibris is the premier online marketplace for independent sellers of new and used books, music, and movies, including rare and collectible titles. It views its site as a community where customers can meet and share their interests.
Alibris maintained a SAN accessed by multiple applications. Its inventory processing and full text search applications were hosted on a single Oracle OLTP server. This created contention for resources that resulted in the following problems:
John Shearer, Director of IT, wanted to separate the two systems, but faced two constraints. First, the SAN was already overloaded and would require an upgrade far beyond Alibris’s budget. Second, full-text searching required access to the latest inventory data. This ruled out a separate disk-based server as replication latency would be too high.
SanDisk® to the Rescue
After some research, Senior Operation Engineer, Michael Warchut, and team deployed SanDisk’s Fusion ioMemory solution to see if it could deliver the low- latency replication that would enable Alibris to move its full-text search application to a separate machine. He purchased a primary and a failover server, equipping each with a pair of 320GB Fusion ioMemory ioDrive cards. He then installed the search application and replicated the inventory database to the new servers. The results were better than he hoped.
Michael told us, “The ioDrive cards made it possible for us to operate with absolutely no discernable replication latency.”
This rapid replication meant that the full-text search application would reflect the most current data in the inventory database. It also meant that the inventory system would no longer be competing for resources and would suffer far less from queuing. Price and product availability status changes propagated instantly; customer support jettisoned an entire subset of tickets brought on by stale data.
Director of IT
The SanDisk-powered solution did more than just enable Alibris to split the systems—it also greatly improved search performance. Customers could now quickly run complex searches over 140 million SKUs without experiencing slow page responses that used to threaten conversion and retention.
“Previously, any searches that had to go back to disk frequently resulted in a lost sale. Now we cache all data in either RAM or SanDisk. Search speeds have improved over six times, eliminating slow response as a cause of customer abandonment,” John said.
A Smarter and Stronger System
By moving its search application to two servers and four ioDrive cards, Alibris improved many other areas of its business.
Implementing the Fusion ioMemory solution gave Alibris the following benefits:
John is thrilled with their SanDisk powered system. When a co-worker asked if he was happy, he responded, “We are very happy with them. Have you ever hired a general contractor who gave you a bid and a time frame, then did the work exactly as promised? Me neither. But that’s what SanDisk did for us.”
About the Customer
Alibris (pronounced “uh-LEE-briss”) is the premier online marketplace for independent sellers of new and used books, music, and movies, as well as rare and collectible titles. It connects people who love books, music, and movies to more than 100 million items from thousands of sellers worldwide. Its parent company, Monsoon Commerce Solutions, also helps sellers and retailers grow their sales through marketplace services and selling solutions.
Since launching in November 1998, it’s grown to be the Internet’s largest independently owned and operated marketplace. That’s more than ten years of doing the following:
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