As a part of our commitment to supporting the Magento ecosystem, we’ve made drastic enhancements to our Magento 2 extension — particularly to our indexer, which will help retailers improve page load times.
To kick things off, let’s first cover the meaning and value of indexing and how it works within the Magento platform.
Indexing is how Magento organizes data (such as products and categories) in order to improve the performance of your storefront. Magento has a very sophisticated architecture that stores lots of merchant data (including catalog data, prices, users and stores) in many database tables. To optimize storefront performance, Magento accumulates data into special tables using indexers. As data changes, it must be updated or reindexed to keep the storefront up to date.
For example, if you change the price of an item from $4.99 to $3.99, Magento must reindex the price change to display it on your storefront. Price changes across the catalog around big sales seasons like Black Friday and Cyber Monday require more indexing. Similarly, the bigger the inventory, the more indexing is required.
Without indexing, Magento would have to calculate the price of every product on the fly, which would increase page load times. This is due to both the technical architecture and the need to account for the granular business configurations that commerce typically surfaces (such as shopping cart price rules, bundle pricing, discounts and tier pricing). A slower indexer will only yield negative commercial impact and a poor shopping experience.
In a nutshell, Magento’s indexer is one of the platform’s core operating components — and the pressure is on for commerce technologies (like Nosto) to make it work faster.
How Nosto Is Helping Improve Indexing on Magento
One key methodology in personalization is processing product data from Magento. At the highest level, this means understanding what products should be recommended to different types of shoppers and how these products are related to each other.
Indexing Large Volumes of Data
Many of our Magento-powered retailers have a wide gamut of product data that needs to be processed from their Magento instance. As a result of that, we’ve received feedback from some of our retailers about how indexing product catalogs to Nosto can slow indexing to a crawl. This is especially true for retailers with multiple storeviews and tens or hundreds of thousands of products, while indexing millions of products when changes take place would cause processing happening at a snail’s pace.
To solve this challenge, we’ve rebuilt the entire indexing mechanism in our extension which comes with dramatic improvements.
As of Magento 2.2.6, it is possible to leverage parallel indexing to faster process large catalogs or compute heavy indexing operations, while improvements and support including parallel indexing come with Nosto’s 4.0.0 Magento extension release.
The results we’ve seen during live tests are staggering: multi-store retailers can expect a 15x reduction in indexation times with the added benefit of always having the freshest possible replica of their product catalog, compared to solutions relying on periodically updating product feeds.
Support for Message-queuing and Additional Caching Layer
We’ve also added support for message-queuing. If you’re on Magento 2.3, we recommend that you upgrade our extension to take full-advantage of the built-in RabbitMQ support. The AMQP features in 2.3 allow you to offload computationally expensive operations, long-running operations or I/O bound operations from your application servers and, instead, use background workers to process these workloads. This also plays a role in making your Magento-powered store faster and optimizing resources.
But that’s not all we’ve done. We’ve also added a caching layer that reduces page-load times when Nosto is installed — which results in even faster page load times.
Getting Started With Our Magento Extension When Using Nosto
If you’re a retailer with multiple stores or have a relatively large product catalog, we recommend that you upgrade your Nosto extension to our 4.0.0 release. You’ll find more information about this enhancement in our release notes and guide on configuring the Magento indexer.
And if you’re a Magento-powered retailer and have yet to explore the benefits of our Magento extension, start a chat with one of our specialists in the chat bubble below and we’d be happy to walk you through the details.