Case Study

MOOSE Limited finds 33% faster load times, less downtime, and peace-of-mind under Linode Managed

In 2000, MLTD founder Ori "Moose” Kainen co-founded The Basement , a small hip-hop record shop in the Southern California's San Fernando Valley. Within three years the shop evolved into an underground-hip-hop music distribution and record company, Basement Records. However, by mid-decade, as a result of prolific, unlicensed music downloads, Basement Records struggled for profitability. That's when Ori realized that everything digital ultimately will be downloadable, and thus would be susceptible to piracy.

However, he reasoned, "You can't download a t-shirt."

Leaving Basement Records, Ori founded Moose Shirts, an online distributor of independent hip-hop artists' merchandise. With the exception of concert attendance, such custom apparel had otherwise been virtually impossible to purchase without direct access to the artist.

MooseShirts.com tapped a market niche, grew, and became the leader in urban-themed artist wear. Gradually, the company introduced street-wear and skater brands, including The Hundreds, Stussy, and Undftd, to its urban-fashion market. Today, Ori's MLTD brand and influence have made it the premier California-based, street-wear fashion destination. Ori graciously consented to responding to questions for this case study.

Challenge

To foster customer satisfaction, Moose needed highly reliable, virtual servers to handle orders from a growing, global market as well as immediate response to system disruptions.

Solution

Enlist Linode managed for monitoring, incident-response and backup duties, thus maximizing uptime, throughput and overall system performance.

Results

Website load times accelerated 33%, downtime reduced to practically zero, backups assured, peace of mind guaranteed.

"The site's load time has never been better, and the level of down-time has never been shorter," said Kainen. "I consider Linode's Managed team to be part of the MLTD.com team."

Situation:

As an online retailer, focused on offering a broad, competitively priced selection of street-wear and skate brands, MLTD.com first used an open-source shopping-cart software, x-cart, on a single, dedicated server. With annual site-traffic growth exceeding 50 percent, a single, dedicated server with its vulnerable, single-point of failure would not sufficiently allow the performance and dependability MLTD needed and its typical 18 – 32 year old male clientele demanded. With sales consistently exceeding previous levels, processing power and uptime needed maximizing to ensure MLTD's renowned customer service would be maintained. After bringing online a dedicated server for its database and cloud-based web servers, MLTD recruited the Linode Managed team to closely monitor and, thus, secure its dedicated server.

MLTD uses Linode's infrastructure to host essential parts of their website's infrastructure. Using two Linodes, MLTD hosts its database on a machine with eight CPU cores for extra speed and reliability and their website on a machine with 40 Gbps inbound traffic rates to handle incoming traffic with ease.

Using Longview, Linode's dashboard metrics and graphing system, MLTD is able to monitor its systems through the Linode Manager. MLTD knows that Linode's Longview ensures high uptime and availability and should a system fail, Linode's Managed team responds immediately.

A robust online presence is mission critical to MLTD. "Our emphasis is primarily on keeping current customers happy. We believe that happy customers will return to our store frequently, plus tell their friends about us. This in turn, helps us expand our customer base'," explained Ori.

Challenge:

Around 2009, only two part-time employees operated MLTD's IT department. At the same time, the company had reached a sales volume where a single hour of downtime would cost thousands of dollars in lost sales and potentially upset hundreds of customers. MLTD decided it would be a greater benefit to enlist the Linode Managed team to monitor its server, provide customer support and afford immediate crisis response, should it ever be needed. This additional security and peace of mind merited the additional cost. Since enlisting Linode Managed, the rare downtime encountered by MLTD has always been addressed immediately and rectified as soon as possible. "I have found that no question is too small for the Linode Managed team, which has always helped reassure me that they are available at any time to support the MLTD team," confides Ori.

The biggest challenge MLTD faces is the inherent "live” nature of a global, online retailer. During the day, customer traffic arrives from the US and the Americas. But at night, European and Asian customers shop. To address this non-stop, global market, MLTD sought an IT solution that had to include a team that would provide sufficient redundancy in its systems, be available 24/7/365 to monitor and address any threats, and to help quickly resolve those threats.

Solution:

Enlist Linode Managed to monitor traffic, respond to incidents, schedule backups and administer system tasks as needed to ensure optimum performance for its global market through its online retail website.

Results:

MLTD's Linode Managed team has set regular backup schedules, with an ability to rapidly recover any lost data. In addition, the team notifies MLTD whenever a slow-down or disruption to its systems occurs. The team monitors website traffic and directs MLTD's attention to syn-flood attacks or other high-traffic events that may not entirely disable its server, but can result in system slow-down and possibly lost business.

As needed, the Managed team has marshaled its expertise and addressed incidents on MLTD.com's Linodes. When MLTD.com was taxing its CPU usage at 700 percent, the team responded by rebooting and bringing usage back to sustainable levels. Whether the incident is resource consumption (e.g., CPU/RAM overuse), or errant configuration, Linode's Managed team identifies the problem, resolves it, and points MLTD.com in the right direction, so it can maintain an optimum level of service for its customers.

For Kainen and MOOSE Limited, the Linode Managed team is a phone call away, "providing concrete answers to MLTD questions, not vague replies and stall tactics."

Ori identifies peace of mind as the primary benefit of MLTD's being a Linode Managed customer. He can rest assured that the MLTD's site is performing properly, that if a disruption occurs, he will be notified quickly, and that MLTD will recover from any failures promptly.

Since joining Linode in June 2013, MLTD has experienced "minimal disruption” even as traffic to its website keeps growing. "The site's load time has never been better (accelerating about a third, to 1.35 seconds from 2.0), and the level of down-time has never been shorter," said Ori. "I consider Linode's Managed team to be part of the MLTD.com team.