Case study: Pineapple Boudoir [Infrastructure]


Pineapple Boudoir is a startup that sells lingerie, candles, sex toys and other products, aimed largely at women.

The first challenge was to design an infrastructure to support the web-application and cart.
Having previous experience with Windows and the .NET environment we decided to follow this route, based on Windows Server 2003 with IIS 6.0 and Microsoft SQL Server 2005. At launch we are running SQL and IIS on this single server, although we intend to run SQL on a separate server in the near future, as growth should warrant.

The server is a Dell PowerEdge with 2Gb RAM and an Intel Itanium processor. It’s racked at BlueSquare 2 in Maidenhead, Berkshire, a brand new facility that went live in May 2007 with a 20GBit resilient Ethernet ring. The server also sits behind a Cisco hardware firewall.

A shopping cart application was next on the list to be found, or else designed bespoke.
A small open-source project called nopCommerce came to our attention. It ticked all of the boxes and the support is very good, as the project is still small enough to receive personal responses from the developer.
The cart software is written in C# with ASP.NET 3.5. It uses DAL (Data Access Layers) and modules for payment gateway integration, including Paypal, Moneybookers and Authorize.net.
It has an impressive back-end which can handle products with multiple variants, some of which are required, like size or colour and some of which are optional items which go with the product, such as batteries.

With knowledge of C# and ASP.NET this cart is extremely easy to customise and modify, either to add custom code to change how the page displays, like the Lightbox effect on the product pages, or to change what functions are performed in the background, like showing ‘featured products’ on the homepage.

Pineapple Boudoir launched on December 1st 2008.

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