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Hosting boosts Comet's website performance

Arif Mohamed
High street retailer Comet has boosted the performance of its e-commerce websites, which generated a £70m profit last year, by using a web hosting service to take the pressure off its own servers and speed up customer response times.

Comet began using Akamai's Edgesuite network of servers last October. These mirror web content on thousands of servers across the country, so users can access the content faster.

Comet then implemented Akamai's Edgecomputing service in March to help hasten the delivery of dynamic content.

The site was receiving 500,000 customer requests a week for a product comparison feature. By running the comparison application on Akamai's servers, Comet reduced the processing pressure on its own servers, focusing them on providing core product data from back-end databases.

"Edgesuite gave us a massive benefit, and Edgecomputing gives us the ability to run some more dynamic functions on the site, such as product comparisons and parametric searches," said Phil Smoker, e-commerce IS controller at Comet.

In the past, Comet ran its website solely from its own servers and peaks in demand caused problems. At Christmas, both site visits and transactions doubled, causing its servers to slow down.

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