Preparing HCL Commerce for the peak shopping periods

When preparing for peak shopping periods, such as the holiday season, use the following best practices to effectively manage your HCL Commerce environment for peak efficiency, and to ensure that your HCL Commerce site is ready to handle the increased load.

About this task

These are best practices developed from working with HCL Commerce clients in the field and are designed to be applicable to environments of any size.
Note: The following items are equally important and not listed in any order of priority.


  • Enable monitoring

    Having effective monitors on the systems can help you quickly identify problems should they occur, so that you can minimize the business impact to your site. Having the appropriate mechanisms in place is necessary to ensure the HCL Commerce system is running efficiently and problem free. It might also want to investigate whether the monitoring tools you are using are negatively impacting site performance.

  • Determine your caching strategy

    The performance and stability of an HCL Commerce site can be greatly improved by implementing a proper caching strategy. If you already have a caching strategy, now might also be a good time to review it and make sure the caching strategy reflects the current state of your site.

  • Optimize your site for your peak load
    To mitigate problems that might arise due to the higher workload, you might consider adjusting the design or maintenance and monitoring activity on your site to prevent potential issues. For example:
    • Adjust the catalog for the peak days allowing for smaller (quicker) categories and product sets to load for users can help with the overall site performance and user experience.
    • Remove or disable resource intensive features or functions, which are "nice to have" on regular days, can ensure that the system resources are dedicated to the core features of the Web site.
    • Make sure that resource intensive back-end processes, such as a database runstats or cleanup command, are scheduled or delayed to times where the peak load is off the system, can ensure that the system resources can be used by the shoppers hitting the storefront.
    • Complete performance tuning of your site to ensure it can handle the increased Holiday load. For more information about performance tuning, see Performance lifecycle and methodology.
  • Determine your integration strategy

    Problems that affect your HCL Commerce businesses may not be limited only to HCL Commerce. For example, any backend order management system must consider the same principles listed in this technote since it will affect the Commerce environment as well. Ensure that all critical integration points with HCL Commerce have been identified and have similar peak shopping period readiness strategies.

  • Test functionality and performance

    It is highly recommended to test the critical functionality on your HCL Commerce environment. Many changes may have taken place throughout the year or prior to your previous testing that might have affected the functionality or performance of your site. In some cases, these problems might not be apparent unless the site is placed under increased load. For this reason, it is important to perform additional function and performance testing to ensure the features on your site continue to work properly and perform under the expected increased traffic. For assistance with performance testing efforts, you might want to consult HCL Support to obtain expert assistance.

  • Freeze custom code

    As you lead up to the peak shopping period, it is important to freeze the code base that is running on the server to minimize potential problems. It is highly recommended that you consider freezing any custom code well before your peak shopping period begins in order to allow time for the system to harden. Freezing the code in advance will also allow you to monitor the environment to ensure problems are identified and resolved prior to heading into the peak shopping period.

  • Perform regular backups

    Plan for the unexpected. Taking regular backups of your site is an important part of preparing for a peak shopping season. Not only does this help with minimizing risk and disaster recovery, but it will also help with root cause analysis should problems occur. Ensure that you have a plan to perform regular backups of your system and explore the options of rolling back to a backup of your site under critical situations.

  • Perform database maintenance.

    HCL Commerce is a very data-centric application. Having a good database maintenance strategy is essential to the health of your site. Since each HCL Commerce site behaves differently, each maintenance strategy needs to be different.

  • Minimize problem determination time

    If problems do occur, it is important to ensure that the right tools and processes are in place to quickly debug and resolve the problems, in order to minimize potential business impact. To help HCL Support solve any problems more quickly, ensure you have the necessary processes in place to capture critical diagnostic data should problems arise.

  • Anticipate potential roadblocks.
    It is always easier to avoid potential problems if you can anticipate them coming. Register for the HCL Commerce notifications and be informed of all the latest issues. It is highly recommended that all clients register for the following services:
    • HCL Commerce Flashes and Downloads
    • HCL Commerce Proactive Email
  • Know your escalation points.

    It is important to know you have escalation options. For more information about your support options, review the HCL Support Guide.