In any business, growth is desired and necessary. But it brings with it additional management headaches. It is very important to meet these challenges successfully in order to sustain the growth. This write-up is about such a scenario faced by one of our most reputed clients* .
This client is a big fish in the web-hosting industry with close to 300 servers now. They have very powerful servers with hundreds of accounts on each of them. Most of their servers are shared servers. Hence, they need to managed really well for optimum performance and uptime.
Most of the servers run stable without giving any problems at all. But a handful of them used to freak out regularly. The servers are monitored using Nagios. It were the same names , most of the times , which came up with critical alerts. Though most of the issues were resolved within minutes , the customers started getting irate over a period of time. More and more users were getting dissatisfied. This was evident from the number of support tickets and chat sessions by the same people over and over again. At this point, we decided to take this matter more seriously as the client could easily loose out on potential business if this continued.
We hand-picked few people from the dedicated support team particularly to deal with this problem. They were assigned the task of exclusively monitoring these problematic servers 24×7 . We have always believed in the theory that the best way to deal with a problem is to eliminate the root cause itself. That is exactly what we did in this case. We observed trends in load spike and identified the causes. We also identified a few accounts which were causing most of the problems. We realized that these accounted for 90% of the downtime causing inconvenience to other users on the server.
Now that the problems were identified, the bigger challenge was how to counter them. We had a discussion with the client about this and decided to migrate such accounts to less populated servers. This measure showed immediate results. But we realized that we need to have a strategy in place to deal with this in the long run. This was necessary due to the fact that just few accounts were eating up most of the resources. We sent out notifications to such users. Some of them were persuaded to stop the scripts which caused heavy load. The company identified a huge business opportunity in this situation. They offered VPS and dedicated hosting options to the high load customers at discounted prices. While some of them agreed, few of them moved away as well. But still the company was in profit.
Thats not all, this streamlined usage also allowed them to keep the light accounts together on servers and such servers could hold 50% more accounts without any problems. That meant more business, higher profit ! At the end of the day, it’s not all about money. Customer satisfaction increased substantially. They were happy as there were no more downtimes. Their sites were loading faster and applications never hung up. Within the next quarter, there was a 300% increase in new sign-ups. All this happened by word of mouth.
Thus, the hosting company got a serious profitability boost by making servers lighter and freeing up capacity to add many more accounts. Also, through selling larger packages, VPS and dedicated hosting for several of the heavy users. Along with this came , increased customer satisfaction and decrease in the number of support requests 🙂 This is a perfect example of the saying – There’s an opportunity in every crisis !
* Name of the client cannot be revealed as per the NDA (Non-disclosure Agreement). References and testimonials are available.