Gone are the days when an online retailer could simply take on more bandwidth as a way to ensure its site was operating properly. “You have to be savvy in the ways you measure performance,” says Bob Hammond, CTO of Mirror Image Internet, a network for the delivery of online content, applications and transactions. “A lot of people think if they have a big pipe to the Internet, they’re fine.”
Not necessarily so, Hammond says. He argues that retailers need a distributed network to house and deliver what shoppers want remotely, not from a centralized server. “If you can offload graphics and middleware, that makes the site richer to attract a larger set of folks and it allows retailers to add navigational features that make the site more interactive, although heavier to deliver,” he says.
Mirror Image provides distributed content and offers a service that allows retailers to view the performance of Mirror Image’s network. “You have to use a measurement tool to make sure the site performs way you want it to perform and make sure the network lives up to its claims,” Hammond says.
Mirror Image operates a network of 21 what it calls “content access points” around the world from which it distributes content and logic for web-based customers. Among the retail and consumer brands it counts as customers are such well known names as Sears, Roebuck and Co., Pacific Sunwear of California Inc., Lillian Vernon Corp., Orvis Co. Inc., LEGO and Hasbro. Others are in the pipeline. “We’ve seen strong growth in the past four to six months,” says Frank Brilliant, Mirror Image’s vice president of sales and marketing.
Brilliant says traffic on Mirror Image’s network grew threefold over the last quarter vs. the prior quarter.