Hack attacks aimed at destroying what some disgruntled criminals see as the over-commercialization of the Internet, and unhappy customers who are unable to use Web sites to purchase goods or services, are just some of the signs that concerns about e-commerce Web sites are growing.
In a recent Boston Consulting Group survey of 12,000 online shoppers, 48 percent gave up trying to buy products online because Web pages took too long to load. Another 45 percent gave up because they found particular commerce sites too confusing to navigate. And 26 percent of respondents said they had given up on buying a product because of system crashes.
The big names in e-commerce are jumping in to offer tools that will quicken implementation and provide a robust and resilient Internet infrastructure. Cisco Systems, EMC and Oracle have partnered in an initiative dubbed 'ECOstructure' (for EMC/Cisco/Oracle infrastructure). The group's goal is to create integrated solutions culled from the companies' arsenals of offerings that will improve the performance and stability of e-business sites.
For the time being, Cisco Systems, EMC and Oracle plan to focus on producing blueprints that will be designed at a center on Oracle's California campus. The blueprints will demonstrate how commercial Web sites can operate more efficiently.
The first of the blueprints is titled "The Resilient ECOstructure." It defines best-practice configurations for commercial Web sites--emphasizing networking wares from Cisco, storage solutions from EMC and database and other software from Oracle, of course. The blueprint is available now at www.eecostructure.com. The next blueprint will show how to set up fail-resistant applications between geographically dispersed data centers.
In addition to the blueprints, a test center has been set up at Oracle's headquarters where technologies for commerce sites can be validated.
Company spokespeople would not specify how much money each partner put into the ECOstructure initiative, other than to say it is a joint multimillion-dollar effort.
But, experts note, since the blueprints are being offered at no cost, the companies will have to make their profit by selling more products.
It is disappointing that the ECOstructure initiative blueprints do not offer information on servers. Roy Sanford, vice president for enterprise alliances at EMC, confirms that the alliance intends to remain "server independent." Although it is understandable that the partners are not offering server information as they don't have a server partner, experts nevertheless feel that servers should be included in any blueprint purporting to define a best-practice e-commerce structure.
IBM wants to lend a hand to help e-commerce sites improve. The company recently set up some eTransactions Design Centers, where
e-commerce and security technologies can be tested. IBM's eTransactions Design Centers in New York and France focus on e-commerce sites that star the company's RISC-based servers.