Dynamic Page Capacity Calculations

Dynamic page capacity calculations are essential to estimate the level of requests than e-commerce system can handle.  As “web traffic is completely unpredictable, which can make it difficult to estimate how much traffic your servers can handle” Posey (2002) it is important that different testing levels are performed to estimate whether your e-commerce system is able to deal with its targets and allow for growth.  These calculations are affected greatly by hosting infrastructure, the system chosen to undertake e-commerce operations and the subject matter delivered online (text, images, payment processing, etc.).

The two calculators located from a Google search for performing dynamic page capacity calculations were Just Search and WebSiteOptimization.com.  In order to compare these site I ran a popular Swiss e-commerce site called “digitec.ch” through each calculator.  With respect to the Laudon & Traver (2010 p241) importance factors for e-commerce success, it is necessary to obtain information regarding functionality that your system has “pages that work, load quickly”.  Just Search’s results only provide a speed rating (digitec.ch’s speed rating was simply to rate the page speed on a 56kbps modem at 0.4 seconds) without any further information.  WebSiteOptimization.com rated digitec.ch’s performance, on the same 56kbps, at 20.15 seconds.  In order to be sure of these differences, I ran the calculators again 3 times leaving a gap of one hour and obtained the following results:

Calculation Just Search WebSiteOptimization.com
1st @ 13:00 0.4 seconds 20.15 seconds
2nd @ 14:00 0.4 seconds 20.15 seconds
3rd  @ 15:00 0.4 seconds 20.15 seconds

I concluded from this that these calculators must only be examining page size and not request speed, as I would have expected to see at least a slight variation in results in the latter case.  Given that I access the site via an 8Mbps DSL line, I then requested the same page manually in four different browsers (after clearing cache each time) and although the load time was considerably below the 20.15 seconds reported by WebSiteOptimization.com, it was also certainly greater than 0.4 seconds reported by Just Search.  Having taken my access speed into account I feel that taking a worst case scenario basis and using WebSiteOptimization.com would be of more benefit to our group project calculations in addition to the granularity of results obtained; this calculator advises on page makeup and provides excellent information and advice on what action to take to improve dynamic page capacity.

References

Just Search (2010) Page Size Calculator [Online].  Available at http://www.justsearching.co.uk/tools/page-size/ (Accessed 21 August 2010).

Laudon & Traver (2010) E-Commerce: Business. Technology. Society. (6th Edition). Pearson Prentice Hall.

Posey, B (2002) TechRepublic: Web pages per second: A simple calculation [Online].  Available at http://articles.techrepublic.com.com/5100-10878_11-5032939.html (Accessed 21 August 2010).

WebSiteOptimization.com (2010) Web Page Analyzer [Online].  Available at http://www.websiteoptimization.com/services/analyze/ (Accessed 21 August 2010).