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08 Jun 2018

Content Management in the Cloud – How to get out of the Scaling Trap

Marketer desires that his campaign “goes viral.” But what happens when all the storytelling, video production, social media, and influencer marketing efforts really take off like a grenade? Does your CMS withstand a run on your website?

How influencers affect our IT

Do you know Gigi Hadid, Liza Koshy or one of the German most famous YouTube stars Bianca “Bibi” Heinicke? If not, you are either the generation with an already accomplished and long career or you do not have pubescent children. These ladies are so-called influencers or “social media stars” who pick up topics in social networks, produce videos that interest the young people or just post pictures of themselves. For example, in the case of Gigi Hadid, there are over 39 million followers on Instagram worldwide. And even if you do not know her – your marketing department should.

A well-known German drugstore chain experienced first-hand what kind of echo influencer marketing campaigns can trigger. Together with Bibi of “BibisBeautyPalace,” they introduced a shower foam series to the market, which was distributed exclusively in the branches of the drug store. Shortly after the product announcement on Bibi’s YouTube Channel, young followers run the stores and the products were sold out within a few hours altogether.

Why is this relevant?

Let’s take a look at the typical customer journey of a prospective buyer who wants to find out about the products an influencer promotes. As a company pays the influencer, the potential client usually ends up on the company’s website. The website is then suddenly confronted with an unusual and typically unplanned high number of inquiries.

By the way, if the dream of a viral campaign turns into a nightmare for every marketer due to congested servers, the so-called “Slashdot Effect” comes into being.

The Slashdot effects

The effect is named after a meanwhile discontinued news service, which reported on other Internet pages and regularly collapsed large enterprises websites due to its wide spreading. In addition to successful marketing, other events can cause the same effect: When the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull jumbled the global flight plans in 2010, the websites of numerous airlines shut down based on the high numbers of rebooking requests.

Even seven years later, on the previous Black Friday, many online retailers had to announce the resignation of their online shops via Twitter or Facebook. More than a decade has passed since Amazon created the cloud service AWS for that very reason, but skyrocket numbers of inquiries still leave web servers at a standstill.  But why?

Collective procrastination and other causes

In the market, we can observe an ever-increasing burden on the IT department with mostly falling IT budgets. Unfortunately, staff goes back to day-to-day business very quickly after dealing with the aftereffects of temporary resource problems, hence, a lasting elimination of the causes of the issue does not take place. That’s what “collective procrastination” stands for. It means “we need to fix it!”, but no one does it.

In addition, many companies lack the knowledge about how quickly such a problem can be solved sustainably: with scalable resources from the cloud. And in most cases, not even an existing web CMS needs to be replaced or the architecture of the existing application has to be completely restored.

Content Management in Containers

In this solution, the entire CMS “as it is”, including all underlying services such as the database or the operating system is provided on the cloud with the use of containers such as Docker or Kubernetes. That solution is possible with most CMS.

Usually, problems can only arise during licensing of the database or of the CMS system in the cloud itself.

CMS of the Cloud Marketplace

An alternative to the operation of container technologies is the use of an existing CMS installation in the marketplaces of the public cloud providers. Especially open source content management systems can be found there in a wide variety of versions and variants.

The multiplicity of the offered images makes the topic confusing: The achievements and configuration possibilities depend strongly on the publisher of the predefined images.

These offers are unbeatable when it comes to one specific point: The provision of images runs almost at the touch of a button. Thus, in the case of short-term or temporarily required installations for individual landing pages or marketing campaigns, the view of the marketplaces can be beneficial for the providers.

For existing installations, however, there is always the need to migrate to the cloud solution. Under certain circumstances, the costs for this are significantly higher than for provision via container services.

Use of Cloud-Native Solutions

Whole web pages can also be provided through the Azure web apps or similar services provided by other public cloud providers. For smaller installations, this solution is the best approach.

As usual with cloud-native solutions, the user does not have to worry about scalability, operating systems or databases, but can rely on the architecture of the public cloud providers.

The disadvantage, however, is that – in comparison to the other alternatives –  a solution is offered which is not based on CMS systems. The offered technologies rather create a solution based on different programming languages ​​independently.

The range of supported technologies varies from provider to provider. Depending on the technology used, this results in a certain dependence on the provider, a so-called vendor lock-in.

For smaller appearances or analogous to the Marketplace Images offers a great potential and in particular when considering the TCO’s over the entire machine life: The billing model in those cases is purely usage-based. If there is hardly a user left on the site after a certain duration of the campaign there are no more costs.

One more thing

You are still not convinced that the cloud is the right solution for building your web pages?

You can also handle the latent security issues that arise when working with very different marketing agencies. So, it is no longer necessary to host landing pages which are produced by an agency and thus software code for individual actions on servers within your infrastructure. You can shift this – including governance issues – to the cloud.

As another side effect, the cloud enables you to optimize your content delivery network and minimize latency for dynamic content by globally delivering content across multiple regions. All in favor of an optimized customer experience, regardless of whether the prospective customer is located in New York or Sydney.


To read this post in German, please click here.

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