Dedicated server infrastructure for Ecommerce

Kapla Vriksha, the Moscow-based company, has been using SIM-Networks services for ten years. We interviewed the CEO and founder of the company and asked him to tell us his success story.

Please, tell us what industry your company is in, and what does Kalpa Vriksha, its name, mean?

We provide a variety of tools and machines for woodworking, appliances for power tools, as well as consumables to the Russian market. We have a huge range of products so that the buyer gets everything that they need for carpentry with our help.

Our company name comes from Sanskrit. There was a time in my life when I was a great enthusiast of Ancient India. When I opened my business, this hobby unexpectedly pointed me towards my choice of name for the company. It had to be memorable, unique and related to the industry. Since my business is related to woodworking, I thought that the company name should contain a reference to trees or woods. I had hoped that people could make the connection between the name and the industry in their minds.

Vriksha means «tree» in Sanskrit. I thought that this could be used to build associations. Then I remembered that in Hindu mythology there is a magic tree that fulfills dreams — Kalpavriksha, in Sanskrit — कल्पवृक्ष, the “Tree that makes wishes come true». And so the name of our company appeared, reflecting the concept of our work with clients: we fulfill their wishes, providing them everything that they need for woodworking.

How and when did your partnership with SIM-Networks begin?

When we started the business in 2009, we created our website. Initially, we chose free hosting, which was quite popular at the time. Why did we choose free hosting? Because we didn’t understand how online businesses worked. These days it’s obvious that in-store retail operates according to offline rules, but internet retail is is another matter entirely. Different audiences, different approaches to promotion, different marketing methods. But when we first started, we weren’t aware of the nuance involved, and our first goal was to save money. We thought that free hosting would satisfy our needs. We soon learned that this was a mistake.

Why did free hosting not satisfy your needs?

We faced a lot of issues with the connection errors, and our website was laggy. Such issues are not good for business growth. We decided to find a hosting provider to deploy our website. The values we needed included reliability, good communications, high uptime, fast and competent support. While researching the offers of various hosting providers, I noticed SIM-Networks. This company offered professional Enterprise-class equipment, connection to leading European network providers, data centers in Germany and reasonable prices. SIM-Networks also has multilingual technical support round-the-clock. To my mind, these points favorably distinguished your company from other foreign providers. The choice in favor of SIM-Networks was made easily, and we haven’t regretted it over the past 10 years.

What kind of infrastructure did you order?

Initially, we ordered a virtual dedicated server (VDS) and deployed our website and ERP system there. Soon after we migrated to SIM-Networks hosting, we updated our website.

My business was growing very dynamically. We had numerous suppliers across both Russia and the neighboring countries, and the range of products in the online catalogue was growing rapidly. The load on the ERP system was increasing accordingly. ERP systems can be hard on your operating system, especially during group transaction making. As a result, the program complex can freeze for a long time. One tome, a kind of critical load mass has seemingly accumulated, and 1C slowed down the operation of our website. This situation was untenable, and we began looking for a way to solve this issue.

I was lucky to meet a brilliant system administrator, a real professional who worked in a large media company. He agreed to consult us and helped me analyze the problem and find an effective way to overcome it.

We found out that we’d been managing our virtual server incorrectly. We’ve put all eggs in one basket, as they say. All of our applications were deployed on one virtual platform and used the same capacities and computing resources. While business growth was relatively modest, the load on the system was insignificant, and apps worked on the VDS without interfering with each other. But with the growth of the customer base, the product range and the number of transactions, we began experiencing a resource shortage.

As I said, the ERP system is quite hard on the CPU. During group transactions, the ERP system absorbed 100% of our virtual server resources, but at the same time, the website and the data base suffered due to the lack of RAM and CPU resources. The system froze for a long time, which annoyed my employees and upset the customers of the online store who could not make purchases during these periods.

So, what did you do?

Our technical consultant recommended that we rent a more powerful physical server and migrate our infrastructure there. We ordered the Dual dedicated server configuration from SIM-Networks. We deployed about a dozen virtual machines using the VMware hypervisor on this dedicated server. This allowed us to allocate a separate virtual server for each application — website, ERP system, database, managing server, email server, terminal server for RDP connection of thirteen remote workstations, etc. This decision immediately raised the productivity, efficiency, and the quality of our work. When there is no application conflict, no program takes resources away from the other ones, and work becomes comfortable and calm. And you can focus on business, rather than solving software problems.

The solution deployed on a dedicated server

Do you have any plans for further resource scaling? Perhaps you are thinking of moving to our Public Cloud?

As of right now, the current infrastructure totally satisfies our needs. But that doesn’t mean that we do not have plans further development.

Over the past ten years, the business environment in which we operate has undergone significant changes. Since we started our business in 2009, we were focused on the fact that we can offer the equipment and tools of manufacturers from different countries and at competitive prices. It was our competitive advantage that distinguished us from other companies in our market segment. Our competitors often practiced the «tunnel» approach — as a rule, companies purchase tools from one manufacturer and sell them only, and their customers have no options. But we’ve always strived to offer a wide range to cover a wide audience. From 2009 to 2016, my business was growing very rapidly, by 50%–100% per year. During this time, the conditions have changed, and such market players as eBay, AliExpress have radically changed the competitive environment. The time has come for us to change our business philosophy, too.

Previously, we had two large retail stores in Moscow and St. Petersburg, and an online store, where sales were mainly carried out through the order form on the website. In the current concept of sales, we have shifted the focus to communicating with customers by phone – this gives us more opportunities to offer the customer the exact solution for their needs.

How many products does your catalogue have now?

A lot, tens of thousands. We also have various promo offers, hot deals, a loyalty program and an affiliate program.

Does this mean that your website is permanently high-loaded?

Yes, it does, and this situation is perfectly normal in terms of development. In 2017 we updated our website, and our positions in the search results dropped due to incorrect SEO settings. I had to radically change the marketing strategy and the approach to SEO in order to regain the previous SEO position of my business. I should tell you that our goal is to be at the top of the list in each product category that we offer. And I’m proud of our success.

Sure, we plan to increase our server capacities when the time comes. Probably, one day, we’ll try to migrate to the cloud. Why not? Our experience makes us flexible. We’ve changed our approach to development, become more prudent, and we pay more attention to analyzing the state of the market and its prospects, and we continue to grow. I think that we will add additional resources to the configuration of our dedicated server in the near future.

Ten years ago, you chose SIM-Networks due to the advantages offered by the company. How did your opinion of the company change over the years?

My opinion is still good. I’m satisfied with the server, and the stability of its work, and I’m satisfied with the pricing policy. I am very impressed with your company’s attention to customers. There are situations when I need to defer payments, and your financial department is always understanding. It is excellent when both sides are open for dialogue and ready for mutual aid. It is vital in the current business environment.

Thank you very much for an interesting and informative conversation. The last question: how can you describe the SIM-Networks service in one sentence?

It is a reliable, customer-oriented, and flexible service that always meets the wishes of the client.

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